Tony Drago (born 22 September 1965) is a Maltese former professional snooker and pool player.

Tony Drago
Tony Drago PHC 2012-1.jpg
Born (1965-09-22) 22 September 1965 (age 57)
Valletta, Malta
Sport country Malta
Nickname
  • The Tornado
  • Maltese Falcon[1]
  • The Boss
Professional1985–2008, 2009–2016
Highest ranking10 (1998/99)
Maximum breaks1
Century breaks132
Best ranking finishRunner-up (×1)
Tournament wins
Minor-ranking1
Non-ranking1

Known for his speed around the table, during his snooker career he won two professional titles: the 1993 Strachan Challenge Event 3 and the 1996 Guangzhou Masters. He later switched his focus to pool and won the 2003 World Pool Masters beating Hsia Hui-kai 8–6 and the 2008 Predator International 10-ball Championship beating Francisco Bustamante 13–10.

Snooker careerEdit

 
Drago playing during the Swiss Open in 2005

Drago's highest snooker world rankings position was number ten (in 1998). He has reached two major finals – the 1991 World Masters (losing to Jimmy White), and the 1997 International Open (beaten by Stephen Hendry—Drago's only ranking event final, and his first run past the quarter-finals of any ranking event).[2] He reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship in 1988. He has appeared in the tournament 11 further times, most recently in 2004/2005, with five further last-sixteen runs. He lost to Matthew Stevens in three successive years – 8–13 in the last 16 in 1999, 2–10 in the 2000 first round, and 1–10 in the 2001 first round.

After he failed to qualify for the 2004 World Championship, Drago's snooker form slumped badly. He dropped out of the top 32 of the rankings a year later, and, after losing to Issara Kachaiwong in his opening qualifier for the 2008 World Championship, he dropped off the tour.[3]

In 2009, Drago won the EBSA International Open, which gave him the chance to return for the 2009–10 season. He reached the third qualifying round of the Shanghai Masters, Grand Prix, and 2009 UK Championship. He then qualified for the Welsh Open, by defeating Simon Bedford (5–3), Peter Lines (5–2), Jimmy Michie (5–2), and Gerard Greene (5–2), where he played against Ryan Day in the first round, but he lost 4–5. In the China Open qualifying, Drago defeated Lee Page (5–2), John Parrott (5–2), Anthony Hamilton (5–4), and Stephen Lee (5–2), to qualify for the televised stages of the China Open. As a result of such a solid season, he got a place in the top 64 and finished 54th.

 
Drago playing at the 2012 Paul Hunter Classic

2010/2011 was again a good season for Drago, as he climbed 8 places to finish 46th in the rankings. However, the 2011/12 season was much worse, with only four qualifying wins to his name. His best results were reaching the last 32 of several of the PTC events. After unexpectedly losing 7–10 to amateur Justin Astley in the 2012 World Snooker Championship qualifiers, Drago finished the season ranked 65th, not making it into the top 64 guaranteeing their place for the next season; however, he was given a wildcard for the next season as a European nomination, along with young Luca Brecel. Drago could not qualify for any of the ranking events during the 2012–13 season.[4] He made headlines in his qualifying match against Alan McManus for the German Masters, when, upon being told he would be fined £250 for conceding the match early, he slapped himself in the face a number of times.[5] Drago finished the year ranked world number 82.[6]

His first match of the season was against Adam Duffy in the qualifying round for the 2013 Wuxi Classic; Drago lost the match 2–5. In the qualifying rounds for the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open, Drago defeated Christopher Keogan 5–2 and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5–4, making a crucial 75 break in the deciding frame. In the third qualifying round, Drago was trailing Tian Pengfei 1–3, before winning four consecutive frames, including a 111 break, to win the match 5–3; however, he lost in the final qualifying round 3–5 to Ryan Day, despite leading 2–0 and 3–2.

Drago lost his place on the tour at the end of the 2015/16 season and he failed to qualify for the main tour in that season's Q School.

In 2020 Drago was once again selected for the Seniors World Championship. However, on the counsel of his personal doctor, he refused the offer due to the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing at the time.

Pool careerEdit

Drago's first major pool win was the 2003 World Pool Masters, which came just a few weeks after a run to the semi-finals of that year's World Pool Championship.

Drago was member of the winning European team at the 2007 and 2008 Mosconi Cup. At 2007 in Las Vegas, Drago won all of his single matches which earned him the Most Valuable Player Award.

In 2008, Drago won the Predator International 10-ball Championship, beating Francisco Bustamante 13–10.

AccomplishmentsEdit

Drago is well known for the speed of his play, and holds a number of records resulting from this. In 1993 he recorded the fastest ever best-of-9-frames snooker victory by beating Sean Lanigan in just thirty-four minutes at the 2nd leg of the Strachan Challenge.[7] He also holds the record for the fastest best-of-17 match, beating Joe O'Boye 9–0 in 81 minutes at the 1990 UK Championship.[8] Conversely, he lost 4–13 against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round of the 1996 World Championship in just 167 minutes and 33 seconds, an all-time Crucible record and less than 9 minutes per frame. In the 1996 UK Championship he made a century break in just three minutes and thirty-one seconds against John Higgins.[7] In the third round of the 1988 Fidelity Unit Trusts International he won the fifth frame 62–0 in just 3 minutes.[9] In 1995, he made a break of 149 in practice against Nick Manning in a snooker club in West Norwood, London. Drago was left snookered after a foul and potted the brown as a free ball and again as the colour, before potting the fifteen reds with thirteen blacks, a pink and a blue, and all the colours.[10]

Playing styleEdit

His combination of exceptionally fast play and emotional temperament has made him a popular character in snooker, although he was famously criticised by Steve Davis for hurling his cue at the table and storming out of the arena following his 1–5 quarterfinal defeat to Mark Bennett in the 1996 Grand Prix, with Drago later accusing his opponent of bad sportsmanship, because the latter had twice in the match suggested that Drago missed the object ball deliberately while snookered. Similarly, he became visibly angry with Peter Ebdon during their second round match in the 2003 World Championship, in which Ebdon repeatedly left the arena between frames. Drago took this as an attempt to disrupt the flow of his game, but apologised publicly when he later found out that Ebdon had been ill during the match.

His style has earned him the nickname "the Tornado".[11]

Performance and rankings timelineEdit

Tournament 1984/
85
1985/
86
1986/
87
1987/
88
1988/
89
1989/
90
1990/
91
1991/
92
1992/
93
1993/
94
1994/
95
1995/
96
1996/
97
1997/
98
1998/
99
1999/
00
2000/
01
2001/
02
2002/
03
2003/
04
2004/
05
2005/
06
2006/
07
2007/
08
2008/
09
2009/
10
2010/
11
2011/
12
2012/
13
2013/
14
2014/
15
2015/
16
2016/
17
2017/
18
Ranking[12][nb 1] [nb 2] [nb 3] 37 32 20 30 30 22 24 20 16 14 15 11 10 20 26 29 28 24 22 36 51 68 [nb 2] [nb 3] 54 46 [nb 4] 81 [nb 5] 81 [nb 2] [nb 2]
Ranking tournaments
Paul Hunter Classic[nb 6] Tournament Not Held Pro-am Event Minor-Ranking Event A LQ
World Open[nb 7] A 3R 2R 3R 2R 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R 2R 2R QF 3R 1R 3R 2R 1R 2R 1R 2R 1R LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ Not Held A A
European Masters[nb 8] Tournament Not Held 1R 1R 1R 1R 3R 2R 2R QF 2R NH SF Not Held LQ 1R SF LQ LQ LQ NR Tournament Not Held WD A
International Championship Tournament Not Held LQ LQ A A A A
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held 1R A LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ A A
UK Championship A 2R QF 1R 1R 2R 2R QF 2R 3R 2R 2R 3R 2R 1R 2R 2R 3R 2R 2R 1R LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R 2R 1R A A
Scottish Open[nb 9] A LQ 2R 1R 2R 2R Not Held 1R 3R 2R 3R F 1R 2R 1R 1R 2R 1R 1R Tournament Not Held MR Not Held A A
German Masters[nb 10] Tournament Not Held 2R 2R QF NR Tournament Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ A A
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held NR Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event A A
World Grand Prix Tournament Not Held NR DNQ DNQ DNQ
Welsh Open Tournament Not Held 1R 3R 2R 2R 2R 3R 1R 1R 2R LQ 1R 2R 1R 1R LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R 1R 1R A A
Players Championship[nb 11] Tournament Not Held DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
China Open[nb 12] Tournament Not Held NR 1R LQ LQ 1R Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ A 1R LQ LQ LQ WD A A A A
World Championship A LQ LQ QF LQ 1R LQ 1R 1R LQ 2R 2R 1R 2R 2R 1R 1R LQ 2R LQ 1R LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ A A
Non-ranking tournaments
The Masters A A A A A A LQ LQ LQ LQ WR 1R WR 1R QF LQ A LQ LQ A A LQ A A A A A A A A A A A A
World Seniors Championship Tournament Not Held A Tournament Not Held LQ 1R 1R 1R LQ 1R A A
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters NH Non-Ranking Event LQ Tournament Not Held
Classic A LQ LQ 2R 2R 3R QF 1R Tournament Not Held
Strachan Open Tournament Not Held 2R MR NR Tournament Not Held
Asian Classic[nb 13] Tournament Not Held NR 3R 2R 1R 1R LQ 2R 2R QF Tournament Not Held
Malta Grand Prix Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event LQ NR Tournament Not Held
Thailand Masters[nb 14] Non-Ranking Event Not Held 3R 2R 3R 1R QF QF 1R 1R 2R 1R LQ LQ 1R NR Not Held NR Tournament Not Held
British Open A 1R 1R 1R 2R 2R 3R 3R QF QF 1R 1R QF 2R 1R 1R 2R 1R 2R 3R 1R Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters Non-Ranking Event LQ 1R 1R NH NR Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held NR 1R LQ A Tournament Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 15] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event LQ LQ 1R Not Held
Australian Goldfields Open[nb 16] Non-Ranking Event NH 1R Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Tournament Not Held LQ LQ LQ A A Not Held
Former non-ranking tournaments
Costa Del Sol Classic LQ Tournament Not Held
World Masters Tournament Not Held F Tournament Not Held
Nescafe Extra Challenge Not Held RR NH A Tournament Not Held
London Masters Tournament Not Held QF A A Tournament Not Held
European Masters League Tournament Not Held RR Tournament Not Held
Kent Classic[nb 17] Not Held A QF NH A A NH A Tournament Not Held
European Challenge Tournament Not Held SF F Tournament Not Held
Tenball Tournament Not Held SF Tournament Not Held
Guangzhou Masters Tournament Not Held W Tournament Not Held
Malta Masters Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
German Masters[nb 10] Tournament Not Held Ranking Event SF Tournament Not Held Ranking Event
Pontins Professional A A QF SF F QF A A A A A A A A A A Tournament Not Held
Malta Grand Prix Tournament Not Held F QF F SF QF R RR Tournament Not Held
Champions Cup[nb 18] Tournament Not Held 1R 1R A 1R A A A A Tournament Not Held
Scottish Masters A A A A A A A A A A A A LQ LQ A A LQ LQ Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters A A A A A A A A A A A A A 1R A A A A Ranking Event A Tournament Not Held
Malta Cup[nb 8] Tournament Not Held Ranking Event NH R Not Held Ranking Event RR Tournament Not Held Ranking
Legends of Snooker Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
Premier League Snooker[nb 19] Not Held A A A A A RR A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A Tournament Not Held
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 2R Tournament Not Held 2R 2R A A A A Ranking
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
PA / Pro-am Event means an event is/was a pro-am event.
  1. ^ From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. ^ a b c d He was an amateur
  3. ^ a b New players on the Main Tour do not have a ranking
  4. ^ Players qualified through European nomination started the season without ranking points.
  5. ^ Players qualified through European Tour Order of Merit started the season without prize money ranking points.
  6. ^ The event was also called the Grand Prix Fürth (2004/2005) and the Fürth German Open (2005/2006-2006/2007)
  7. ^ The event was also called the Grand Prix (1984/1985-2000/2001 and 2004/2005-2009/2010) and the LG Cup (2001/2002-2003/2004)
  8. ^ a b The event was also called the European Open (1988/1989-1996/1997 and 2001/2002-2003/2004), the Irish Open (1998/1999) and the Malta Cup (2004/2005-2007/2008)
  9. ^ The event was also called the International Open (1984/1985 and 1986/1987-1996/1997), the Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986) and the Players Championship (2003/2004)
  10. ^ a b The event was also called the German Open (1995/1996-1997/1998)
  11. ^ The event was also called the Players Tour Championship Finals (2010/2011–2015/2016)
  12. ^ The event was also called the China International (1997/1998-1998/1999)
  13. ^ The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989), the Dubai Classic (1989/1990-1994/1995) and the Thailand Classic (1995/1996)
  14. ^ The event was also called the Asian Open (1989/1990-1992/1993) and the Thailand Open (1993/1994-1996/1997)
  15. ^ The event was also called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  16. ^ The event was also called the Australian Open (1994/1995-1995/1996) and the Australian Masters (1995/1996)
  17. ^ The event was also called the Kent Cup (1986/1987-1987/1988 and 1989/1990-1990/1991)
  18. ^ The event was also called the Charity Challenge (1994/1995-1998/1999)
  19. ^ The event was also called the Matchroom League (1986/1987-1991/1992), the International League (1989/1990) and the European League (1992/1993-1996/1997)

Career finalsEdit

Ranking finals: 1Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1997 International Open   Stephen Hendry 1–9

Minor-ranking finals: 1 (1 title)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1993 Strachan Challenge – Event 3   Ken Doherty 9–7

Non-ranking finals: 8 (1 title)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1989 Pontins Professional   Darren Morgan 2–9
Runner-up 2. 1991 World Masters   Jimmy White 6–10
Runner-up 3. 1993 European Challenge   Stephen Hendry 3–5
Runner-up 4. 1994 Malta Grand Prix   John Parrott 6–7
Runner-up 5. 1995 WPBSA Minor Tour – Event 5   David Roe 3–6
Winner 1. 1996 Guangzhou Masters   Steve Davis 6–2
Runner-up 6. 1996 Malta Grand Prix (2)   Nigel Bond 3–7
Runner-up 7. 1997 Scottish Masters Qualifying Event   Alan McManus 2–5

Team finals: 1Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Team/partner Opponent(s) in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1989 World Cup Rest of the World   England 8–9

Pro-am finals: 6 (3 titles)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2011 3 Kings Open   Dominic Dale 1–5
Winner 1. 2012 3 Kings Open   Bjorn Haneveer 5–3
Runner-up 2. 2013 3 Kings Open (2)   Stephen Lee 4–5
Runner-up 2. 2014 3 Kings Open (3)   Luca Brecel 4–5
Winner 2. 2015 3 Kings Open (2)   Luca Brecel 5–4
Winner 3. 2016 3 Kings Open (3)   Brian Cini 5–1

Amateur finals: 3 (2 titles)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1984 Malta Amateur Championship   Alf Micallef 7–3
Runner-up 1. 1985 Malta Amateur Championship   Paul Mifsud 1–7
Winner 2. 2009 EBSA International Open   Roy Stolk 5–4

Pool tournament winsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Watkins, Janie E (4 August 2010). "Maltese Falcon flies high in Shanghai Masters qualifiers". Times of Malta. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  2. ^ Snooker.org: International Open 1997
  3. ^ World Snooker News – 888.com World Snooker Championship Qualifying – DRAGO DENIED
  4. ^ "Tony Drago 2012/2013". Snooker.org. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Tony Drago attacks himself after defeat". Eurosport. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Official World Snooker Ranking List For The 2013/2014 Season" (PDF). World Snooker. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Chris Turner's SNOOKER ARCHIVE – Records". 2008. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
  8. ^ "Top Trump". snookerscene.blogspot.com. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  9. ^ Turner, Chris (31 August 2009). "On this week". eurosport.com. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  10. ^ "The tide turns at St Helen's". London: The Independent. 15 June 1995. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Drago recovers from heart failure". World Snooker Tour. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.

External linksEdit