Now competing in the Snooker World Championships, it wasn’t always plain sailing for Martin Gould, from Pinner, this year, after he admitted he was struggling with his mental health due to the online abuse.
Gould admitted he benefitted from the coronavirus lockdown after he was ready to walk away from the sport he loves.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the former world number 11 said: “I was in a pretty dark place. My dad and my girlfriend were looking out for me because they knew there was something wrong.
“You get a lot of stick from social media and a lot of people don’t understand how we feel when we receive those kinds of messages. They don’t understand how much pressure we can be under just to pot balls.
“My mind, body and soul weren’t in it. Lockdown saved me – if it hadn’t happened, I don’t think I’d be sat here right now.
“I fell completely out of love with the game, lockdown basically helped get my head back into wanting to play again. It was hard, but thankfully my family and friends have helped me to get back focused and ready.”
At the time of writing, Gould had just comfortably beaten Stephen Maguire in the first round of the World Championships.
He faces Kyren Wilson on Saturday (August 8) in the second round.
A spokesperson for the sport’s governing body, The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said: “We prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of its professional players and have developed working partnerships with specialist organisations designed to facilitate various levels of support for a range of issues, including mental health, depression and addiction.”