Shaun Murphy says it is “a disgrace” that Reanne Evans does not receive greater recognition for her achievements after surviving a final-frame decider against the 12-time women’s world champion.
Evans became the first female player to compete in the Champion of Champions tournament and almost marked the occasion with a shock, fairytale win.
The 34-year-old superbly battled back from three frames down to level against 2005 world champion Murphy in a scrappy contest at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Murphy, who won this competition in 2017, managed to regain his composure and sealed a 4-3 success in the Group Four semi-final with a fine break of 130.
The world number eight believes his opponent deserves more credit and hopes to see her compete in snooker’s main tour events.
“It’s a funny world we live in. This woman here, she’s a 12-time champion of the world completely disregarded by the general British sporting public at large,” Murphy told ITV4.
“People are throwing MBEs and awards out at people left, right and centre – she’s got 12 world titles to her name and nothing after her name. It’s a disgrace.
“But for the chance I got in the last, I could very easily have lost that.
“You’re playing in a crowd where everyone wants you to lose. Even my wife was reluctant to wish me good luck today – she did, but through gritted teeth.
“All of that aside, it was a tough game of snooker, she didn’t disgrace herself at all and I really hope we see more on the main tour events.”
Murphy will on Monday evening play Neil Robertson for a place in the overall semi-finals of the competition after the Australian whitewashed Martin Gould 4-0.
Asked about critics who have said Evans should not be involved in the tournament, Murphy replied: “The only people who said things like that don’t know what they are talking about.”
Evans hopes her performance has inspired more women to play the sport.
“They’ve seen me out there, I’ve actually competed at the end, and hopefully they can see themselves in my shoes in a few years’ time,” she said in an interview posted on the Champion of Champions Twitter page.