'I believe there is a long career in this game for me,' young snooker star Aaron Hill speaks about life in snooker.
Nicknamed 'De breeze', Aaron hill is a 20-year-old professional snooker player from county Cork. Born on February 28th 2002, he entered the world with a fierce thirst for the game of snooker, proving his abilities from a very young age.
Starting at the limber age of twelve, Hill was quite a late bloomer on the snooker scene. “I always watched it on TV and my dad always said he’d bring me for a game once I got tall enough to see over the table,” said Hill.
“I was in every sport you could think of from the age of four to sixteen. I knew it was time to fully commit to snooker when at the age of 16, I finished number 1 (ranking) in Ireland, senior level and won the u18 European title in the same year. It was then I realised I could potentially be a professional; I am now and hopefully I won’t look back,” added Hill.
He began fighting professionally in 2020 and has won the European Championship three times. He defeated England's Hayden Staniland to win the EBSA European Under-21 Snooker Championships in March 2020. His victory earned him a two-year World Snooker Tour card for the seasons 2020–2021 and 2021–2022.
De Breeze has made his mark on the snooker world tour since entering the scene. In the round of 64 of the 2020 European Masters, the native of Ireland took on Ronnie O'Sullivan, the reigning world champion and No. 1 player in the world, on September 24, 2020. In October of 2022, Hill took to the table world number two Judd Trump and defeated him four frames to one in the northern Irish open in Belfast, taking him to the next round of the tournament.
“It’s a great feeling playing against two of the best players to ever pick up a cue. Ronnie was a player I watched every-day on television when I was growing up. But I see myself beating these players and If I don’t, I’ll be disappointed, hopefully I meet them at some point later down the line in my career,” Hill admitted.
Some athletes will go to extreme lengths in their pursuit of maximising their performance weather it’s a goal, a good marathon time or in Hill’s case, potting a couple of snooker balls. For some individuals, using pre-match traditions in the belief that it will give them an advantage on the pitch is a necessity, in Hill’s case, he just sticks to the basics. “The week of a tournament I eat well and get good rest, I take it handy with my practice the week of a tournament as you don’t want to be burned out when the tournament comes.”
Many people have superstitions to bring them good luck and for De Breeze it’s no different. “I wear my lucky shamrock socks every time I play a match so I suppose you could call that a superstition,” Hill Laughed.
With his whole life ahead of him, Hill speaks confidently about his short-term goals such as keeping his pro-card with hopes to continue competing on the professional tour. In the long run, “The skies the limit. I believe there is a long career in this game for me so I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me,” he added.
Aaron Hill is one of the few snooker talents to emerge from Ireland, since the beloved “Darling of Dublin” Ken Doherty broke into the professional scene back in the 1990’s. His advice for young people trying to make name for themselves in any aspect of life is “Hard work and dedication. Take risks, when it feels too scary to jump, that’s exactly when you jump, otherwise you’ll stay in the same place your whole life.”