Kyren Wilson has had a funny season so far, making more centuries than anyone other than Judd Trump, but struggling to find deep runs in tournaments. He feels success is coming, though, both in this campaign and for years to come.
The world number nine reached the semi-finals of the German Masters earlier this month and the quarters of the European Masters at the start of the season, but has otherwise found results difficult to come by this season.
It is strange because he has knocked in 40 tons, at the time of writing, with only Trump making more centuries and he has won four ranking titles in the process.
Wilson’s early exits meant he narrowly missed out on the World Grand Prix, with just the top 32 on the one-year list qualifying and he admits that stung, especially as he feels he is playing really well, the wins just aren’t coming.
‘It was hard sat at home watching the lads in the Grand Prix,’ Wilson told Metro.co.uk. ‘It’s just not good enough on my behalf to not be in an event like that.
‘I expect to be in an event like that every single year and to not make it, it gave me a bit of fire back in the belly.
‘I’ve been working hard, stopped tinkering around with my game and gone back to what I know and what’s given me results in the past. My form is really good.’
At 32 Wilson is not a youngster in the game, but he is one of only four players in the world’s top 16 who are under 35, alongside Trump, Luca Brecel and Zhang Anda, so he is still has a lot of years left to compete at the elite level.
That is certainly how he sees it, knowing that the greats cannot go on for ever as the Class of 92 approach 50 and even the likes of Mark Selby and Neil Robertson are now in their 40s.
The Warrior not only wants to replicate the success of those names for himself, but also his youngest son, Bailey, who is becoming more and more interested in following in his dad’s footsteps.
‘I want to be a part of every big event,’ he said. ‘I feel like I’ve got a big part to play in the future of snooker, in terms of the generation that’s there now.
‘I feel like I’m one of the younger lads that’s going to take the game forward when the legends of our game decide to step aside.
‘Also, every time I have a decent run my youngest gets a little bit more inspired. It’s nice to keep doing it for him, if I can do well in these big events it inspires him even more and who knows, he might be winning them in the snooker.
‘He’s actually a really talented little footballer as well. We might have a little battle on our hands, but I asked him the other day if he wanted to be a footballer or a snooker player and he said snooker player all day long. He tells me he had a maximum the other day. The youngest ever at six years old? I think I’ll have to check the CCTV footage on that.’
Wilson’s good run in Berlin last week will give him confidence going into next week’s Welsh Open, where he needs a deep run to make it into the 16-man Players Championship.
If only more tournaments could be played in Germany, where Wilson has won three of his five ranking titles.
‘I don’t know it is over there but I always produce good snooker,’ he said. ‘You always get a buzz when you go to Berlin, just walking around the venue, the restaurants, the shops, everybody recognises you, everyone’s a big snooker fan.
‘That all adds to it. It gives it a nice feel-good factor. I love playing in front of the German fans, they’re all so kind and it brings the best out of me.’
After beating Neil Robertson in the last16 and whitewashing Fan Zhengyi in the quarter-finals, Wilson was disappointed to lose to Si Jiahui in the semis after taking a 2-0 lead, but he is looking at the positives.
‘Maybe a bit of a missed opportunity because I’ve been saying for a while my form’s been so good,’ he said. ‘I’m second on the century list and people say I’ve had a bad season. It makes me think, what could I achieve if I have a good one?
‘It’s nice to back up saying I’ve had that form by having a good run in an event. Playing someone like Neil Robertson, coming back towards some of the best form he’s been in for a long time, he’s looking hungry, it might be the worst time to be playing him, so to beat him and play really well in doing it. That was a nice confidence boost.’
Si would go on to lose to Trump in the final in Germany, but the 21-year-old is another who is likely to have a big role to play in snooker’s future.
Wilson witnessed first hand what the World Championship semi-finalist can do and liked what he saw, despite the 6-3 loss, although he is not sure how long the Chinese talent will keep up his all-out-attack ethos for.
‘He’s obviously very, very talented,’ Wilson said of Si. ‘He must have a scar from the World Championships, losing from so far ahead against Luca [Brecel in the semis], but he’s still going for his shots.
‘Maybe he’s pushing the boat out a bit. He played a couple that I couldn’t really see the value in. But while they’re going in, then great. And he can run round the table potting everything, capable of blowing anyone away.
‘It’ll be interesting to see if he still has that game in a few years or if a few knocks turn that around for him. He’s refreshing to see, though, and if he keeps going then he’ll be knocking on the door. We’ll have to wait and see, but he’s fearless, great to watch.’
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