KYREN Wilson is hoping a renewed focus on fitness and diet can give him the extra five per cent to go one better than last year and lift his first World Snooker Championship title, writes Luke Baker.
Wilson memorably made his first final at the Crucible Theatre at the 2020 Worlds but was outgunned 18-8 by an imperious Ronnie O’Sullivan, who lifted the trophy for the sixth time.
The Kettering cueman successfully navigated the first round this year with a high-quality 10-8 victory over his namesake Gary Wilson and claims that watching what he eats is a priority for him at the 17-day snooker marathon.
“Because my brother is a personal trainer – he’s well aware of the nutrition,” explained Wilson. “It’s just trying to help me with that extra five per cent.
“It’s such a long tournament and it takes so much out of you, that you have to give yourself the best chance. If you’re going to be on fast food and alcohol for two weeks, then good luck!”
Wilson actually trailed 5-1 in the early going of Monday’s victory but hit back in style with breaks of 82, 115, 139, 61 and 60 en route to winning the next six frames and completely turning the match on its head.
From there, he made another century and two further half-centuries to edge past his opponent and jokingly claims there was more on the line given the clash was a Wilson derby.
“Gary is a very tough customer,” he added. “He had a semi-final here two years ago, so I know he can handle the occasion.
“There’s a bit of a funny story, I was on the phone to a company a couple of years ago and the lady said to me ‘Wilson? Snooker player? I know you – you’re Gary Wilson!’ because he’d just made the World semi-finals that year.
“I was like ‘wow, oh no!’, so I thought there’s only one Wilson if Gary beats me here, so I had to win this one!”
World No.11 Barry Hawkins or qualifier Matt Selt will be the second-round opponent of Wilson, as he looks to plot his way back to the final in Sheffield.
The World Championship is being used as a pilot event to trial having fans back watching live sport and while the Crucible is only permitted to be 33% full for the first round, Wilson is adamant it made a big difference.
“The applause was ten times better than the applause machine we’ve had during the year, so I’m looking forward to more of that during the tournament,” said the 29-year-old.
“People pay good money, it’s a real treat for them to get back here and watch live sport and be the first in the country to do it. I’m proud to be part of it.”
Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3