Tell us what you really think, Stephen
Stephen Maguire is not in snooker to make friends (Picture: Getty Images)

Stephen Maguire is never afraid to speak his mind and he is happy to admit that he is not a big fan of most of his fellow snooker players.

The 38-year-old Glaswegian is playing at the China Open this week where he is hoping to cement his place in the top 16 going into the World Championship.

A spot in the top 16 in the rankings secures a place in the first round at the Crucible, and avoids three grueling rounds of qualification in Sheffield.

While over in Beijing, it was put to the Scot that snooker players are a tight-knit bunch that get along well, but Maguire didn’t exactly agree.

Maguire is playing in the China Open this week (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)

‘I’ve only got three or four pals that are snooker players, I don’t like the rest of them to be honest with you,’ Maguire told World Snooker.

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‘But the three or four that I’m tight with, I count them as close friends, so when I come to places like China I stick with them and it makes it a bit easier.’

Maguire begins his China Open campaign knowing there is a slim chance that he could drop out of the top 16 and face World Championship qualification.

He does not seem overly concerned by the prospect, but would like to secure a seeded position, mainly to avoid playing Ronnie O’Sullivan in round one, which he did last year, unsuccessfully.

‘I think I’d be unlucky to lose a spot at the Crucible, but it is possible. I’m looking forward to it this time and I’m a little bit more relaxed than in the last two years.

‘If I get there automatically then I can’t play Ronnie, which is always a good thing. Last year when I qualified, I won my three matches and was relieved so I wasn’t too disappointed I drew Ronnie, because if you’re going to draw him the first round’s the time to do it.

‘I kind of threw the game away last year, I’m not saying I should have won it, but I should have pushed him a little bit closer. But the guy’s good so I’ve got no complaints.’

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Maguire takes on China’s Xu Si on Tuesday in Beijing as he bids to win a tournament he has won once before, pipping Shaun Murphy 10-9 in the 2008 final.

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan’s World Championship seeding set after Mark Selby’s China Open defeat

MORE: Mark Selby suffers nightmare China Open exit to world number 92

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