CRUCIBLE debutant Kyren Wilson says he has been overwhelmed by the response he has received after securing qualification for the World Championship.
The talented Kettering potter, 22, beat former world champion Graeme Dott 10-7 on Tuesday to seal his first ever appearance in snooker’s biggest event.
Wilson, who is one of four players set to play at the Crucible for the first time along with Xiao Guodong, Michael Wasley and Robbie Williams, will play last year’s semi-finalist Ricky Walden in the first round starting on Monday night.
Since clinching his biggest win yet against the 2006 world champion, Wilson has had little time to reflect on his achievement after being inundated with texts and tweets of congratulations plus the fact the tournament kicks off so soon after the qualifiers.
Local interest has also been high with regional news crews filming him and his family’s reactions to yesterday’s (Thursday) first round draw which was shown on World Snooker’s YouTube channel.
“I’ve had lots of publicity with people wanting to interview me and have photos with me, its been crazy but I’m loving every minute,” he told The Old Green Baize.
“The response has been overwhelming to be honest. There’s been so many texts and tweets that I’ve not been able to reply to them all.
“I watched my mate Sam Baird qualify last year from a bar in Tenerife and it is so weird because my Nan and Granddad are out there now and will be sat where I was watching me – they’ve been in tears. It’s just mad when you think about it but I just can’t wait to play.
“Unfortunately there is not too much time to enjoy the hype as my first game is just days away so I have to crack on and get back into the zone on the practice table.”
One tweet which certainly caught the eye of a delighted Wilson was from six-times world champion Steve Davis who described him as a ‘class player on the rise’.
“It’s unbelievable to read that from one of my heroes in the game,” Wilson added.
“When you’re growing up watching the game he’s one of the players you aspire to. When someone of his calibre says that it really hits home on how well you’ve done.”
Snooker fans should not be surprised of Wilson’s recent success following his earlier achievements this season when he made it to the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters – his best career ranking event run to date.
But Wilson said his victory over Dott was the biggest of his career so far and was impressed with how he coped with the pressure of the longer matches.
“Reaching the quarter finals of a big ranking event such as the Shanghai Masters was a massive milestone for me but obviously the World Championship is just in a different league. There is so much pressure on for every single player at every round.
“It’s such a marathon and to beat someone like Graeme having put so much energy and effort into it was a great feeling. I always knew I could do it but to do it in that pressure is enormously satisfying.”
And Wilson hopes his first ever appearance in a BBC event is one to savour. He is not looking just to make up the numbers.
“I’m an attacking player naturally and I’ve always wanted to play in front of big crowds and entertain. There’s no better place to do that than at the Crucible.”