World number six Kyren Wilson admits that he will see his career as a failure if he doesn’t land at least one World Championship title in the process.
Wilson boasts one of the most impressive Crucible records of recent times, having made three quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final in the last six years. However, he is yet to lift the sport’s most prestigious trophy.
The Kettering cueman faced Shaun Murphy in the semi-finals this year and despite opening up a 10-5 advantage, he lost 12 of the next 14 frames and slipped to a 17-12 defeat. In 2020, Wilson was defeated 18-8 by Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
Wilson, who is 29 years old, is fully aware that with a raft of the sport’s top stars are now in their 40s. He believes that will mean the next 15 years will provide an opportunity for him to heavily contend to be the sport’s top star.
“You see it with the likes of Yan Bingtao winning the Masters this year. He is another name that will be in a similar boat to myself. Judd is at the top of the tree at the moment and there isn’t much of a difference in age between us. I’m looking forward to seeing how that pans out over the next few years. That is an important key to how I develop as a player and keep improving. I’m looking forward to the next ten to 15 years and I’m looking forward to getting travelling again,” said four-time ranking event winner Wilson.
“I will 100% feel like it has been a waste of time if I don’t win the World Championship. I’d be gutted. That’s what I want to achieve. That is what I am working for. I do feel like I am capable of doing it. If I can keep putting the work in and try my best in every department, I will make it more likely. There are still stones I haven’t turned over yet and things I can look at doing, like getting fitter, I haven’t really done yet. Hopefully I can do these things and get that extra 5%.”
Wilson made alterations to his technique during the Championship League in the build up to the World Championship. He believes that the process of doing this helped him to focus when it came to snooker’s biggest tournament. However, he admits that he felt in control of his semi-final clash with Murphy, before the 2005 Crucible king turned the tables on him.
“Sometimes it can give you a new focus when you have a technical thing to work on. There is an awful lot of pressure when you go to these events, so if you are thinking about your technique it can be like a trigger. John Higgins mentioned that he had his own trigger when he won the Players Championship. I went away from that tournament and thought about what I could do differently to deal with that standard of snooker.
“I remember for the first two and a half sessions of the Crucible semi-final, I just played complete match snooker. The first session I had three or four centuries and shut Shaun out. He had a chance in the last frame of the session, but missed a red to the middle and gave me a four frame lead. I think that hurt him a little bit, but Shaun has been there and done it. He knows how to bounce back from a bad session. Unfortunately for me, that’s what happened.”
Wilson will begin the defence of his BetVictor Championship League title this month as the season gets underway. It’s a campaign which he says he has elected to work harder for than ever before.
“It’s probably down to what goes on off the table rather than on it for me going forward. I’ve spoken to my wife Sophie about it recently, in terms of really dedicating myself to the game, more than I ever have done before. I’ve got a nice social life, where I do like to go out and have a bit of fun. I’ve not fully shut myself off and gone all out on snooker. We’ve spoken about trying to do that over the next year or two. My boys are at an age now where they do understand that if I am going away I am coming back. They know why I’m going away. Finley has started charging £5 a photograph at school, so he is profiting from it as well!”
Watch the full interview in the latest edition of Baize Watch, where Rob Walker caught up with Wilson at his home.
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