World Series of Snooker Grand Final has been switched from Moscow to the Algarve
John Higgins , winner of two world titles, admitted he was disappointed at missing out on the opportunity of becoming the first snooker player to pot a red in the Kremlin.
But Higgins, one of the game's great ambassadors on and off the table, insisted the players cannot wait to take the game to sunny Portugal - especially since they will be able to get in a game of golf!
The World Series showcase, televised by Eurosport, was due to be staged in the Russian Capital later this month.
However, with the global financial crisis hitting the country hard which led to unforeseen financial challenges with the Russian promoter, organisers, Stirling-based FSTC Sports Management decided to put Moscow in cold storage with Portiamo now staging the final on from May 8 -10.
Higgins, who has put together the highly-successful World Series alongside FSTC chief executive Pat Mooney, revealed: "All the boys were looking forward to becoming the first players to play snooker in the Kremlin. It would have been an amazing experience.
"I was fortunate enough to win the previous leg of the World Series in Moscow in November when we played in front of packed houses and it's fair to say the local snooker fans loved every moment.
"There would have been thousands more in the Kremlin but unfortunately it's not going to happen this year although we made a lot of friends there and will definitely be back.
"Despite the disappointment, the players are just excited to be playing the Grand Final in the beautiful surroundings of the Algarve.
"It will be a wee bit hotter than Moscow, and an added bonus is that we will be able to get in a round of golf although the priority is to do well well in the final and I would love to become the first player to win the World Series.
"The final in the Algarve will be held only a few days after the final of the World Championship in Sheffield so who knows, I might be going to Portugal as world champion.
"That would be the dream scenario although there will be others thinking exactly the same. I'm sure we will put on a show the local fans will remember."
The Algarve final, the last of a ground-breaking series which started in Jersey before moving on to Berlin, Warsaw and Moscow, is sponsored by the Portugese Tourist Board and the City of Portimao.
A top quality field includes Higgins, fellow Scots Stephen Maguire and Graeme Dott, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, Ken Doherty and six-times former world champion Steve Davis.
FSTC boss Mooney revealed:
"They asked for sexy snooker, well this is it, we will have a full field of top professionals with some surprise wild cards, in one of the most glamorous locations in the world and our sponsors are working with us to put on a spectacular show.
"This event will launch the series for 2009 as well as host the final. There will be guests from all over the world in attendance and we intend to treat them all to a red carpet affair to remember."
By John Docherty.
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