Photo credit: JP Parmentier/Matchroom Multi Sport
If the 2020 version of the Mosconi Cup is able to take place later this year, Team USA will have a new adversary to contend with. Fedor Gorst was the first member of Team Europe named for this year’s Mosconi Cup. The 20-year-old Russian was named to his first team after winning the 2019 World 9-Ball Championship and moving to 8th Place in the world-rankings.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, Gorst’s excellent 2019 campaign had carried over to this year’s European Tour.
With no ranking events having been staged since March, Matchroom Pool, and team captains Jeremy Jones and Alex Lely, decided to respect the achievements of players who had competed in the ranking events which took place prior to the pandemic. Therefore, it was agreed that the top player from both the U.S. and European rankings would automatically qualify to play in the Mosconi Cup, with the remaining four players selected as captain’s wildcards.
Gorst was the top-rated European player based on the rankings.
“I was very happy when I got the call from Alex,” said Gorst. “I was thinking that I deserved to be on the team this year, not only because I won the World title, but because I feel that I have progressed as well.”
“It is every player’s dream to be a part of the Mosconi Cup. Last year I tried very hard to be on the team, and played all the qualification events. I missed one Euro Tour because I had a virus, and I lost the very last match against Alex Kazakis to be on the team.”
“I really don’t know what it is like to play in the Mosconi Cup. I am sure the pressure is very big because of the crowd and the atmosphere and the importance of the tournament. I have good coaches around me and I will practice hard and be prepared.”
“I have had a few practice sessions with Alex already, through Skype. I have also spoken to [former European and American coach] Johan Ruijsink about it, so I am starting my preparation with four months to go.”
European Captain Alex Lely added: “I am happy to have Fedor on board. He is young, he is more than a talent; he is now a proven champion. He is a smart guy, he is a sociable guy, and he is very coachable, so for myself and [vice-captain] Karl Boyes it is perfect to have him on the team.”
“As a person, and how he has grown as a player, he has learned to be open for input and feedback. He is a stand-up guy and he is really mature for his age, on and off the table. I will always check and see with the players how receptive they are, but with Fedor he is always firing away many questions, he is so hungry for knowledge.”
Lely and Boyes will now choose four wildcards to join the team, and those players will be announced over the coming weeks. However, with pool tournaments on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Lely’s ability to assess the players is restricted.
“It is very difficult because we are limited to see the players in action, although many of the top players in Europe are entering these challenges online,” he said.
“I have tried to keep in contact with some of the usual players you think about when you think about Team Europe, but it is not the perfect scenario right now. I would rather see them in action in the States, in Asia, in Europe, and get a real feel for where their form is. But we will try and keep as good a contact with the players as we can.”
The Mosconi Cup will take place Dec. 1 – 4 at Alexandra Palace in London.
According to Matchroom, they are still hopeful and determined the Mosconi Cup will take place this year. They are in discussions with the relevant organizations and personnel to stay up to date. Matchroom indicated their highest priority is the safety of everyone connected with the event, and that they are working hard to explore every avenue to making the event happen.
Visit http://www.matchroompool.com/mosconi-cup/ for more info.