"Obviously, I am quite excited playing in such a big tournament and that too at home, in front of my family and friends. It is a great feeling," said the 31-year old Chandra, who earlier this year won his second National snooker title after a gap of six years, in a chat with IANS here Saturday.
Chandra is one of the six Indians who qualified for the Wild Card entries allotted to India, while compatriots Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta came through the qualifying competition held in Doncaster, England.
Hailed as one of the most talented players India has produced in recent times, Chandra has never quite fulfilled the early promise. He won the National junior (Under-21) snooker titles in 1997, 1999 and 2001 before deciding to turn professional, a move that lasted just one season.
"I didn't do all that well on the pro circuit though I came within two rounds of qualifying for the World Championship at the end of the 2002-03 season. I then pulled out of the pro events though I was ranked 101.
"So, the Indian Open will be my first pro tournament in 10 years. I am not really nervous since I have played the circuit earlier and also I am in good touch going into the tournament.
"I have not played Robbie Williams before, but I have seen one of his matches. I am giving myself a chance to win the match," said Chandra, who will progress to the second round if he gets past Williams in the Wild Card round following the withdrawal of Kyren Wilson.
For all his obvious talent, Chandra remains an enigma as his game has often swung from the sublime to ordinary. As such, he has won the senior National title just twice, in 2006 and 2013.
"I am not sure what the reason is for my up-and-down game. I just seem to go through these patches. However, I have matured as a player and learnt not to give too much thought to the past when I was aggressive and thought that the only way to win points was by potting.
"I have realised the importance of safety play and perhaps look at the percentages a little more than I was when I was younger. Also, may be because I have become a father, I am a bit more responsible in what I do and also the thought process," said a smiling Chandra, who is married to former National billiards and snooker champion Anuja Thakur, as he spoke of his 18-month old daughter Ananya.
Chandra opined that just about any player can win the tournament, given the format where all matches, including the semi-finals will be decided over seven frames.
"Yes, it is a shootout and I feel, any player can win the title. All the players in the draw are very good, but I cannot see a reason why even an Indian can't win the tournament," said Chandra before resuming his practice session.
--IANS (Posted on 12-10-2013)