Masters snooker 2014: Shaun Murphy opts for healthier diet

Former world champion Shaun Murphy says he has altered his diet in an attempt to win his first Masters title.

The Sale player has not lifted a trophy since the 2011 Brazil Masters and faces a tough match against China's Ding Junhui in the first round.

"I have completely changed my eating habits," Murphy told World Snooker. 

"It has been a real education to learn about diet for the first time. In the past, my relationship with food was always based on how I felt."

Murphy factfile

Born: 10 August 1982

Nickname: The Magician

Ranking tournament victories:

  • 2005 World Championship
  • 2007 Malta Cup
  • 2008 UK Championship
  • 2011 Players Tour Championship Final

The 31-year-old won the World Championship in 2005 and the UK Championship in 2008, but is still missing a Masters victory, coming runner-up to Australia's Neil Robertson in 2012.

And if he does triumph at Alexandra Palace in London, he will become only the ninth player in the history of the sport to win the Triple Crown.

Murphy, who secured the second 147 maximum break of his career in the Championship League on Wednesday,  hopes the adjustments he has made can give him an edge and help improve his stamina and concentration at the table.

"As a sportsman you are constantly up and down and that affected my diet," he said.

"Since August, I have stopped eating things which I don't deem to be good for me.

"I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, though I haven't gone vegan like Peter Ebdon. I've given up fizzy drinks and I just drink a lot of water instead, plus I've given up chocolate. I'm just generally being healthier.

Masters Champions

2013: Mark Selby

2012: Neil Robertson

2011: Ding Junhui

2010: Mark Selby

2009: Ronnie O'Sullivan

2008: Mark Selby

"Having done it and enjoyed the rewards of it, I wish I had done this years ago. It's not easy and you need motivation to do it. It's really about having the discipline to make the right choices."

Coming up against Ding in his opening match on Tuesday, in arguably the tie of the round, "The Magician" has a difficult task against an in-form player who, at one point this season, won three consecutive ranking titles.

"I've been going through a tough time on the table," admits world number eight Murphy.

"I keep coming up against players who play fantastic snooker against me and deserve their victories.

"There's not much I can try other than good old-fashioned hard work. I have improved the weaknesses in my game and I know that good things are just around the corner."

Full draw for the Masters, starting on 12 January 2014.