Apr 21

Gary Wilson - Nothing Without Nostalgia

Gary Wilson can still remember the moment he first dreamed of playing at the Crucible – but these days he’s setting his sights much higher and hopes one day to become world champion.

The Tyneside Terror arrives in Sheffield fresh from a season where he’s bagged two ranking titles and understandably is daring to dream. As well as looking ahead, he can’t help but reminisce on his Crucible memories when he walks through the doors of this famous old venue.

“I love it here; there’s so much history here and it feels like the place to play,” he told Snooker System.

Wilson’s connection with the Crucible dates right back to 1995. He was just nine years-old when he was invited to visit as part of his inclusion in a junior Big Break event.

“They invited us here to do a little bit with David Vine who was the presenter at the time,” he recalled.

“I was in the practice room hitting a few balls and my Dad and Stan Chambers, my old coach were getting interviewed. It was my first time here and I got to go backstage and into the arena when they used to have the globes behind the seats, so they’re good memories.

“It was then that I realised that this was what I really wanted to do, and it was the moment I came here and had the dream to play here.”

That dream has very much become a reality. In 2017, he qualified to make his debut and faced Ronnie O’Sullivan. Two years later he reached the semi-finals and here he is this year among the top 16 and being tipped as one of the outsiders to win the title.

“You’ll take it and it’s really nice to hear but I’ll just let everybody talk and I’ll get on with what I need to do,” he said.

“When you first get here, you’re just happy to get here and want to make a good show of yourself.

“But once you've been here a few times and you get more established, you're not just here to give a good account of yourself, you're here to win the thing. One day, that’s what I want to do.”

If he’s going to take home the title, his first assignment is to beat 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham.

“When I saw the draw, I really didn’t care who I’d got because everyone is brilliant,” said Wilson.

“Stuart is a great player and a former world champion and so you can’t get too much more difficult in the first round and I’m going to have play well to win.”

Wilson is no stranger to playing well this season. He’s successfully defended his Scottish Open title and took home silverware at the Welsh Open just a couple of months ago. In the most recent event, he progressed through to the semi-finals of the Tour Championship and so is right to be regarded as a dangerman.

“There’s not been a lightbulb moment of any kind. It’s just been an accumulation of little things allowing me to start to get to where I thought I could get a long time ago.

“I still feel like I’m a little way away from my best but it’s more about consistency. I show almost my best in very odd patches, and I’d like to show somewhere near that level on a consistent basis.”

“Let’s see what happens but I’d love to keep performing and keep up the levels.

Wilson starts out in his first-round match against Stuart Bingham on Monday at 10am.
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