Shaun Murphy said he had gastric sleeve surgery to help him lose weight and get his snooker career back on track. He did this because he was tired of being called “fat shamed” on social media.
The 40-year-old had surgery in May to remove 80% of his stomach, which he says makes it almost impossible for him to gain weight again. He’s lost four stones since then, and he thinks that being thinner will help him find more success after he’s been having trouble lately.
Murphy has consistently won tournaments and stayed in the top ten in the world since 2005, when he became the lowest-ranked player to ever win the World Snooker Championship at age 22. But he hasn’t won a tournament since February 2020. In 2021, he made it to the world final, but last season, he only made it past the second round of two events.
Poor performances, long-lasting neck and back pain, the end of his marriage, and online bullying because of his weight all happened at the same time, so he thought surgery was the best way to turn things around.
Murphy said in an interview with Sportsmail, “There were a lot of things going on in my life that made last season the worst of my career.”
“It’s been very hard, and my weight is something I’ve always had trouble with.” Going under the knife was a very big decision, but I had to accept that I couldn’t solve my weight problem any other way. I had the surgery in May, and so far I’ve lost about four stones.
“My weight has always gone up and down, but it all comes down to discipline, and I needed to do something about it to give myself the best chance of being successful in the last third of my career.”
“This has been one of, if not the, most difficult years of my life. “Me and my wife, Elaine, broke up, which has been hard because we have two kids together. I began to eat much more. It’s an addiction, but not one that’s talked about as much as alcohol.
“Me and Elaine are kind of trying to get back together, but the end of our marriage and my weight and injury problems made it really hard for me to play snooker.” Everything else was more important.
“But I decided to do something about it because I’m tired of being called fat-shaming names on social media and not feeling good about myself.” I didn’t feel good, and my suit didn’t fit right at this year’s World Championship.
“The surgery can’t be undone, so it was a very big choice.” “I know that as a well-known athlete, you can expect to be criticised on social media, but some of the personal attacks are really mean.”
Murphy has struggled with his weight for a long time, and he admits that it has gone up and down during his career. However, he says that listening to a legend of the game talk about the fitness of the top players during May’s World Championship gave him a spark.
“I had 80% of my stomach taken out, so I can only eat very little now,” Murphy said. “It’s almost impossible for me to gain weight again,” she said. I used to go to Weightwatchers, which I really liked, and I’ve lost weight over the course of my career. My weight has gone up and down when I’ve dieted and started working out.
“But I was listening to Steve Davis in the commentator box at this year’s World Championship, and something struck a chord with me. He wasn’t talking about me when he said that, but he did say that it wasn’t a secret that the best players were the ones who had taken care of themselves.
“You only have to look at Ronnie O’Sullivan.” He is the player who has taken the best care of himself, and at age 46, he just won his seventh world title. He gets better as he gets older. And many of the other tournament winners are in good shape, like Neil Robertson and Judd Trump. “John Higgins has lost a lot of weight by spinning, and I know a lot of professionals who have Peloton bikes so they can spin at home to stay in shape.”