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Kyren Wilson Interview: Relaxed title hopeful aims to eclipse Crucible big names

A recent morning event was her four-year-old son, Bailey, walking down the stairs in a full waistcoat and bow tie, announcing his arrival just as his father will be in Sheffield this weekend.

His self-proclaimed nickname is ‘the little warrior’, a nod to Dad’s moniker, and he’s already showing all the signs he could follow in his dad’s footsteps with regular coffee table workouts afterwards. its grand entrance.

“Bailey comes down in the full outfit,” Wilson explains. “His grandmother is a seamstress, [she] made my outfits and made that for him too. He certainly has the right attitude for it. He is very loud, confident and theatrical. He loves being center stage.

Bailey and her older brother Finley have already come to the Crucible to watch the semi-finals and Dad’s final. His wife Sophie will come, while his parents should always be present throughout his matches in the tournament.

Wilson himself clearly loves the Crucible scene. He has reached at least the quarter-finals in the last six years, was a semi-finalist last year and lost in the final to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2020. The hope is that he can do better this year .

The world number 5 notes: “It’s a very open field, the most open that has ever been with different winners this year. There are plenty of options and a high standard of snooker everywhere.

To fine-tune his preparations, Wilson largely distanced himself from the family. A typical morning involves a stroll to the end of the garden where a garage has been transformed into his billiard room. Hours will be spent there in the morning and afternoon, plus two more after dinner, aimed at perfecting his technique and preparing his mind and body for the marathon nature of the World Championship.

“Every match starts with at least the best of 19 frames, so it’s a long-winded event,” he says. “You have to tick all the boxes to get your mind and body in order. I’m on a diet, it’s about that extra 2%.

“But I think those long games fit my personality. It gives me time to relax into the event with such a long format. Not only that, but I love Sheffield the city and all things The Crucible.

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It’s been 24 years now since he beat a former world champion, Peter Ebdon, as a six-year-old at a charity event. Ebdon advised Wilson’s parents to pursue the sport more seriously and Ebdon has been a confidant, playing partner and advisor ever since. He will be in his corner at Le Creuset from this weekend.

In the past, the board taught him new moves, but now it mainly reminds him to be mentally strong and trust himself. From time to time, they joke about their past encounter.

“It’s crazy how things are, isn’t it?” Wilson recalls. “But I’ve never looked back since then.”

There were difficult times. His breakthrough came when he won the Shanghai Masters in 2015. He had thought about skipping it to be in Tenerife for his father’s 50th birthday, Finley having been born a few months earlier.

I had to make it work. Maybe I would have found a way to survive by working in a bar… I don’t know.

His wife walked out with practically the rest of their money – around €250 – and lost it while traveling. She called him in floods of tears. The family members all had to contribute so that she could even afford diapers.

“This tournament has transformed our lives,” he says. “I said to myself that a year ago, I would have to look elsewhere.

“I was running out of time and felt a lot of pressure, mainly from me. I had put everything into billiards, I had kind of lost interest in school. So I had to make it work. Maybe I would have found a way to survive by working in a bar… I don’t know.

The results continued to follow, with the outward signs of his success being a spacious family home and beautiful cars. Survival and money are no longer the driving force. Currently, it is a first world title and eclipses some of the biggest names in the sport.

“It’s what we all dream of and play for,” he said on the eve of the World Snooker Championship. “It would mean everything to me to win it.”


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