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Antonio Montes: young, Spanish, on his way to the world top?

Posted by on November 12, 2020

Antonio Montes: young, Spanish, on his way to the world top?

© Ton Smilde
Antonio Montes, young Catalan player, stopped for a while on his way to the world top in three cushion

SANT ADRIÀ DE BESOS - The young Spanish billiard player Antonio Montes (27) can finally let off steam again these days in the sport in which he wants to realize his ambitions. Billiard players, like other sports men, must stay at home in these times of crisis. That also applies to Antonio Montes, in Sant Adriá de Besos, the suburb of the Barcelona metropolis on the Catalan coast. Today (Thursday) and tomorrow, the young Spaniard is in the field of three world top players (Eddy Merckx, Murat Naci Coklu and Roland Forthomme) in the final of the virtual OneCarom Challenge. The long stop has been interrupted for a few days, the longing for the World Cups and other big tournaments is suppressed for a while.

Antonio Montes was well on his way taking the next step towards the world top. The former European junior champion (2014) and semi-finalist in the World Cup in Veghel (2019) enjoyed wonderful, recent victories over Dick Jaspers and Marco Zanetti amongst others, but, like other young billiard players, was stopped on the way to his breakthrough.

Kozoom had an interview with the final player at the UMB Challenge:

Antonio Montes Montferrer
Place of residence: Sant Adrià de Besos, suburb of Barcelona
Age: 27
Girl friend: Eleana
Profession: professional billiard player
Study: university, chemistry
Sponsors: Inviktcues, Royal Pro
Teams: Club Billar Vic (Spain), Morangis (France), Earth Express (Netherlands)

Kozoom/Frits Bakker: Who is Antonio Montes, who belongs to the generation of young Spanish talents, where does he live, where did he grow up, which study did he take before he became a professional billiard player?
Antonio Montes: I live in Sant Adrià de Besos, 15 minutes away from Barcelona, ​​where I live with my parents. My girlfriend is Eleana. I was born in the city of Barcelona, ​​but there, prices to rent an apartment are very high. At young age, 13 years, I started playing billiards. My father was a billiards player when he was young, but when I was born, he stopped. When I was growing up, my parents took me to the club in Sant Adrià de Besos to see if I liked billiards. I played both billiards and soccer in these years, but when I was 15, I decided to play with three balls only. I went to school in Badalona, ​​also a suburb, later to Sant Adrià de Besòs and finally to the university in Barcelona, ​​where I studied chemistry. And when I graduated, I wasn't sure what my future would be like. I had some options, but I was thinking about becoming a teacher. Because of my sporting career, it turned out another way.

Kozoom/FB: How do you currently see your future, in sports and in your private life?
Antonio Montes: In sports, I hope to see my future when we will soon be able to play all World Cups again and I want to try to improve my level step by step. I want to set new goals and will fight hard to achieve them. In my private life, because the current situation is still changing every day, I cannot predict my future. But I will keep on practicing and want to do everything I can to create a good future with my family and my girlfriend.

Kozoom/FB: How is the situation with COVID-19 where you live now?
Antonio Montes: It's still bad here in Catalonia. We have to stay at home between ten in the evening and six in the morning and from Friday morning to Monday morning, we're not allowed to leave our hometown.

Antonio Montes with his girl friend Eleana

Antonio with his parents when he finished his study at Barcelona university

Kozoom/FB: How is it for you to visit the billiard club and practice?
Antonio Montes: I don't have a table at home, but I live very close to my club. The club is currently closed, but I have a permission that allows me to train.

Kozoom/FB: What does it like to survive now for a professional billiard player in these COVID times?
Antonio Montes: My career went really well just before the Corona broke out. I was nr. 31 on the world ranking and because of my results, I got a ticket for the World Championship. Unfortunately, is has been cancelled as well. The situation has changed a lot now. The crisis has affected me too, but we have to be patient. I have good friends who have bigger economic problems. Most important, people need to be safe and stay healthy.

Kozoom/FB: What do you feel when you compare, these days, your situation in UMB with young colleagues like Martinez, Zapata, Anguita in the PBA?
Antonio Montes: Every personal situation is different and everyone has to make his own decisions. I regularly talk to some of these guys and I am very happy that they are finding the way to live from billiards.

Kozoom/FB: Who are the main sponsors helping you through this hard period?
Antonio Montes: At the moment, Inviktus sponsors the cue to play with and Royal Pro helps me, but speaking frankly, at this time, I don't have major sponsors to make a living from billiards.

Kozoom/FB: Who are the top 3 billiard players that you like to watch om matches?
Antonio Montes: I enjoy a lot watching Caudron, Jaspers and Sánchez.

Kozoom/FB: Which three matches in your career have been the most wonderful in your memory so far?
Antonio Montes: I would say the match against Dick Jaspers in a World Cup in Korea last year. I won 40-33 in 15 innings, that was a very special moment. Maybe, I played one of my best matches in my career so far. Also the one against Dion Nelin at the World Cup in Veghel. I won the match and qualified for the main tournament in a World Cup for the first time, an important and happy day for me. And also the final at the Spanish championship against Dani Sánchez this year, although I lost the match 40-29 in 13 innings. It was a wonderful and special opportunity to play the final at the Spanish championship with Dani. And with that, I received the ticket for the World Championship, I was very happy with it.

Kozoom/FB: Can you look back and forward to the Challenge in which you reached the final?
Antonio Montes: These three days were very exciting. I think it's a great format to let us play and it's nice to feel the pressure of competition again. The final group consists of great players. I'm going to try my best to be a good opponent.

Thanks for the interview, Antonio, good luck in the final of the Challenge.

The final matches in the Challenge are scheduled today (Thursday) and tomorrow at 14.00 West European time.

Antonio Montes at the final podium in Veghel World Cup with Duc Anh Chien Nguyen, Lütfi Cenet and the winner HaengJik Kim

Antonio (r) with another Spanish top player, Raul Cuenca




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