Meet Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (2022 Player of the Year)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz was recently named the 2022 Billiards Digest Player of the Year after having one of the most remarkable years in his career.
Sanchez has been one of the best European players in the last decade, and is in the peak of his career. He has already won major championships and defeated some of the best players in pool, like Jayson Shaw and Shane Van Boening.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Sanchez Ruiz – from how he started playing pool to his major championships, and even his preferred pool cue.
Who is Francisco Sanchez Ruiz?
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz is a Spanish professional pool player. Sanchez was born in Murcia, Spain, on December 29, 1991. His father was a pool player. According to Sanchez, his father loved pool so much that he skipped his son’s birth to play in a tournament.
His father also owned a pool hall, so Sanchez was always around people playing pool. Francisco started following his dad around to different pool tournaments by the time he was 3 years old.
Surprisingly, pool was not Sanchez’s first sport of choice. He preferred tennis at a very young age. Even though he was playing pool early on, most of his time was spent practicing tennis and playing in tournaments. Sanchez switched his focus to pool when he turned 13 and even played in the Spanish first category (for junior players).
By 15 years old, he was playing in the Spanish Championship. Francisco won his first major championship, the 2007 Spanish Pool Championship 9-Ball, when he was 16.
When did Francisco Sanchez Ruiz turn pro?
Sanchez Ruiz went pro at around 18 years old. After his early 9-ball success, Sanchez Ruiz went on to play many other tournaments at the junior level and won several of them.
When he finished school, he started working at one of his father’s pool halls and focused on becoming a pro pool player.
He would go on to win the 2010 World 9-ball Junior Championship. This win made him a legitimate contender on the global pool stage, and lead to the start of his professional pool career.
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz’s Championships
Sanchez Ruiz has recently entered the prime of his career, but has already won dozens of Spanish and World championships. He is still in his early 30s and will likely win many more. Here are some of his major championships:
1. WPA World 9-ball Pool Championship (1 time)
- 2023 – Sanchez won the championship in Kielce, Poland, by defeating Mohammad Soufi 13–10 in the finals.
2. Mosconi Cup (1 time)
- 2022 – Sanchez was part of team Europe, which defeated team USA 11–7.
3. World Cup of Pool (1 time)
- 2022 – Won when playing with David Alcaide. In the finals, the duo defeated team Singapore (represented by Toh Lian Han and Aloysius Yapp) 11–6.
4. WPA World Eight-ball Championship (1 time)
- 2022 – Won by defeating Wiktor Zielinski from Poland 10–6 in the finals. Jayson Shaw was also a semifinalist in this championship.
5. US Open 9-Ball Championship (1 time)
- 2022 – He defeated Max Lechner with a 13–10 final score and received a $50,000 prize.
6. Derby City Classic (1 time)
- 2022 – Won the 9-ball event in the annual Derby City Classic.
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz’s Cue of Choice
Currently, Sanchez uses Predator cues. Predator has been sponsoring him since 2009. Sanchez has been using the Predator Ikon 4-5 Pool Cue recently, but has played several other Predator cues in the past.
Like most professional pool players, he has also used other brands and custom cues, especially in his early years when he was just starting.
What’s in Francisco Sanchez Ruiz’s bag?
- Predator Ikon playing cue, Predator BK Rush break cue and Predator Air Rush jump cue
- Spare shafts
- Extensions (he carries both medium and long extensions)
- Kamui chalk
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz vs. Pool Greats
Sanchez Ruiz has faced some of the best pool players of the modern era in different championships. Here are 3 interesting matches he has played against some top players:
1. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz vs. Jayson Shaw
Sanchez Ruiz played Jayson Shaw in the 2023 Premier League 9-Ball Pool finals. He won the match 7–4. You can watch the match HERE.
2. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz vs. Shane Van Boening
Sanchez Ruiz played Shane Van Boening in the 2021 US Open Pool Championship winners qualification round. He defeated Van Boening 11–6. You can watch the match HERE.
3. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz vs. Albin Ouschan
Other Awards and Achievements
Besides his many championships and titles, Sanchez Ruiz was named the 2022 Billiards Digest Player of the Year. 2022 was one of the most successful years of any professional career, as he dominated the game by winning several major championships.
Fransisco Sanchez Ruiz had a stellar performance in 2022, winning almost everything, including the Mosconi Cup.
He is also an exciting player to watch. Few players in the modern era can match his ability to come from behind and win matches against some of the best pool players.
Sanchez is undoubtedly on the road to becoming one of the greatest pool players ever. He will be an interesting player to watch for pool fans worldwide in the coming years.
As always, Happy Shooting!