Player Profile: Alain Martel
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Alain Martel is one of the most recognized and respected names in Canadian billiards. A consummate professional, Martel has demonstrated his 9-ball prowess at venues across the country and around the world. Along the way, he has defeated many of the top names in the game, and accumulated a truly impressive string of tournament results: three Canadian Open 9-Ball Titles (2009, 2008, 2004), a 3rd Place at the World Cup of Pool (2007), and a 3rd Place at the Admiral World Pool Championships (2001), to list but a few. Dubbed the 'Dancing Bear' by his peers, Martel is a master shot maker, a shrewd tactician, and an ongoing source of pride for all Canadian billiard fans. Check out this YouTube video for an example of his prowess, then read on to learn more about this great competitor.
How long have you been playing pool/billiards?
I started when I was 7, and now I am 51.
How did you first get involved in the sport?
I really started to enjoy it when I was 10, and I played my first tournament at age 15.
What is it about pool that appeals to you, and makes you want to put in the effort to excel?
It is a passion. It is unexplainable, really, but by having the discipline to practice, you can actually measure it when you get better.
In your pool career, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
For a long time it was my semi-final at the 2001 World 9-Ball Championship, but now I think that having lasted so long in the sport makes me prouder. You know what they say, the only thing tougher than winning a title is retaining it.
What sacrifices have you had to make to become such an accomplished player?
I lost my life!
What goals have you set for yourself for the future?
I think that even at my age I am still improving in some aspects of the game, so I think that I still have a shot at the world title, even if I don't putt as good as in my 20'ies or 30'ies.
From your experience, what does it takes to be competitive at the elite level?
Nobody in the world can try to be world class player in any sport or game unless they received a certain talent from up there. Of course everybody can improve to a certain level by being committed.
What billiard player(s) do you most admire? Why?
I admire a lot of players for different reasons -- I don't admire any one player above the others. Here are 4 examples amongst the 100's: Stickland for how quickly he understands the rolls on a new table; Pagulayan for his strategy and shot selection; John Morra for his concentration; Jason Klatt for his combativeness -- the guy never quits, even if he's down 0-10.
What advice would you give to a young player interested in competing at the national/international level?
First, make sure you have diploma from school. Second, watch the other champions and learn from all of them, keep your eyes and mind wide open.
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