Murphy enjoyed an excellent 2014/15 season, though in the end he just missed out on winning snooker’s biggest title for the second time.
During the first half of the campaign he won back-to-back European Tour events, beating Martin Gould 4-2 in the final of the Bulgarian Open, and Robert Milkins 4-0 to win the Ruhr Open in Germany. In the second of those finals, Murphy made a 147, the fifth maximum of his career.
Even better was to come for the Nottingham-based potter at the Dafabet Masters, as he won the event for the first time. After knocking out Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen to reach the final, Murphy scored an incredible 10-2 victory over Neil Robertson. That made him one of only ten players to have won the Triple Crown of World, UK and Masters titles.
“It hasn’t hit me yet at all, it will take days, weeks and months for what I have achieved to sink in,” said Murphy after collecting the £200,000 top prize. “The media has made up the idea of the Triple Crown and it really does affect the players who have won two out of the three. I won my first one and wanted more, then I got my second and I’ve had to wait seven years for the third. It’s been a long time coming, there has been a lot of hard work and I’m absolutely blown away.”
Shortly afterwards, Murphy reached the final of the German Masters, but was beaten in the final by Selby.
At the end of the season he enjoyed a terrific run at the Betfred World Championship, beating Robin Hull, Joe Perry, Anthony McGill and Barry Hawkins to reach the final against Stuart Bingham and give himself the chance to join the elite group of players who have lifted the trophy more than once at the Crucible. But despite holding an easy 8-4 lead, Murphy ultimately finished second best by an 18-15 scoreline.
“I can have no regrets really, I feel I’ve played some really great stuff throughout this championship,” he said. “There can only be one winner and again unfortunately this year it wasn’t me.”
During the 2013/14 season, Murphy won his fifth ranking title at the Haikou World Open in China, beating Mark Selby 10-6 in the final.
“I’m so happy to win a ranking event again, it has been a long time. Snooker is a very tough game now so these events are hard to win. There’s no secret to it, I’ve just been working very hard,” said Murphy, who had lost over three stone in weight through a diet and fitness routine which he started in 2013.
In September 2011, Murphy won the new Brazil Masters, the first professional tournament ever staged in South America, by white-washing Graeme Dott 5-0 with a top break of 139.
“It’s a great opportunity we’ve been given, to go around the world playing the game we love,” said Murphy. “I’ll have very fond memories of Brazil and I would love to see this become a regular event. This is a great time for snooker and it’s very exciting to be part of it, with so many new formats and new locations.”
He won his fourth full ranking title in 2011 by beating Martin Gould 4-0 in the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals.
Murphy won the 2008 UK Championship, getting the better of a thrilling final against Marco Fu, taking a tense deciding frame for a 10-9 victory.
Murphy rewrote snooker’s history books with his extraordinary victory at the Crucible in 2005. As the world No 48, he was the lowest ranked player ever to win snooker’s biggest title. He was also the second youngest winner, after Stephen Hendry in 1990, and the second ever qualifier, after Terry Griffiths in 1979.
His route to the final took him past Chris Small, John Higgins, Steve Davis and Peter Ebdon then he came from 10-6 down overnight to beat Matthew Stevens 18-16, finishing the match in style with breaks of 97 and 83 in the last two frames. Viewing figures on BBC Sport peaked at 7.8 million.
He was also runner-up at the Crucible in 2009, losing 18-9 to John Higgins.
His other ranking title came at the 2007 Malta Cup when he beat Ryan Day in the final.
At the 2007 Welsh Open, in a first round match against Jamie Cope, Murphy made century breaks in each of the first four frames (135, 123, 102, 101) – the first time that had been achieved in a ranking best-of-nine match.
Away from the table, Murphy is a fanatical golfer and plays to a single figure handicap. He enjoys learning languages, reading and music and is an accomplished piano player. He also enjoys watching James Bond and Superman films.
- The Magician