STUART BINGHAM says the birth of his daughter this weekend has given him a great boost and refreshing perspective heading into his Masters opener against Joe Perry on Monday evening.
Snooker’s world No 2 and wife Michelle welcomed 8lb 2oz Marnie Rose Bingham into the world at Basildon Hospital at 5.26pm on Saturday. Mum and baby are doing well and due to be back home in Basildon early on Sunday evening.
Ballrun said: “I’ve been waiting for the baby to arrive since the Scottish Open last month really, so things have been a bit up in the air.
“So it has been really handy having the snooker room at my home because it has meant I can look after Michelle and then pop out for some practice when I can.
“And although the baby was late, there were no complications and it was a very emotional and special day for me and our family.
“I got a nudge from Michelle about 4am on Saturday morning and she said, ‘I think I am in labour’. We went into hospital about 2pm and the baby was born a few hours later.
“It is early days but it has given me a bit of a new mindset heading into the Masters. After something amazing like that happens it does remind you that you are only playing a game of snooker and there are more improtant things.
“That said, I am going there to give it my best as always and I plan to give a good account of myself.”
Bingham revealed the name Marnie was first suggested by his step-daughter Tegan, 13, and then finally picked by Michelle – as he got to pick the name Shae for his five-year-old son.
Marnie was born six days after her due date and that gave Bingham an interesting week heading into snooker’s top invitational at London’s Alexandra Palace.
One report in Germany even suggested the late arrival had meant Bingham had already decided to pull out of the Masters – but that was a case of something literally lost in translation.
Bingham explained: “I think it was some quotes of mine that had been translated from Enligsh to German in which I said I might have to pull out – and the translation was obviously wrong!
“I even had the guy from the @snookerbacker blog messaging me to see if I had withdrawn – but I never had.”
Bingham plans to travel to Ally Pally on Monday afternoon to watch John Higgins play Mark Allen ahead of his clash with Perry in the evening.
Ballrun is seeded third and Perry ninth – but the Essex star is certain he is in for a tough opener.
He added: “I didn’t realise just how good Joe’s record is against me – I think it is something like 9-3 in his favour.
“But I am looking forward to it. Until last year I had not got past the first round and then I got to the semi-finals.
“And I love the feeling of playing on the one-table set-up at the Masters. There is nowhere to hide and it is a great atmosphere. It is what snooker is all about and I can’t wait.”
* TV coverage of Bingham versus Perry is on the BBC Red Button and Eurosport 2.