New world champion Kyren Wilson hopes to build legacy as one of snooker greats

Kyren Wilson is determined to build a legacy as one of the greats of the game after landing his first World Snooker Championship title with an 18-14 victory over dogged qualifier Jak Jones at the Crucible on Monday.

His win was a long time coming for 32-year-old Wilson, twice previously a runner-up in Sheffield and at the Masters, but who had struggled to make the big-time breakthrough that many believed his prodigious talent was due.

As is often the way with snooker, Wilson’s big moment came at the end of his worst season in a decade, beset by illness and injury within his family, all of whom were present to witness his display of emotion as he polished off the final frame.

“I’ve already said that I’d be disappointed if I only landed one,” said Wilson. “I believe I can become a multiple world champion. I can build a legacy in this sport and that’s something I’d like to have a good crack at.

“You sort of hunt for your first ‘triple crown’ event and there’s no better one to land as your first than the World Championship. I’ve had misses in all three but now I’ll always be remembered as a world champion and hopefully it can lead to bigger and better things.”

Wilson’s route to the top of the sport has been far from serene.

He spent two years consigned to the amateur ranks after an unsuccessful first season on the tour, and considered it his last chance when he got another crack among the professionals in 2013.


His major breakthrough came when he fought through three qualifying rounds to reach and win the Shanghai Masters, becoming the lowest player in a decade to win a ranking tournament, but despite ascending to the world’s top 16, the expected haul of titles have been slow in coming.

“It’s like a Rocky Balboa story,” continued Wilson. “I’ve had to dig in and go back to the grotty gym and find myself again. For two years I couldn’t get through Q School and (wife) Sophie looked at me and said, ‘if you don’t do it this year, we’ll have to look at alternatives’.

“There have been plenty of holes in walls, plenty of doors that have been battered. There are lots of things that have been broken in frustration. I’ve sacrificed my life for this moment and it’s all been worthwhile now I’ve got my name on this trophy.”

Wilson succeeds Luca Brecel, the Belgian who spent his reign as world champion revelling in his status and paying scant attention to off-table matters, and who admitted after his first-round defeat to David Gilbert this year that he could not wait for it for end.

But Wilson dismissed suggestions that the title of world champion could prove to be a burden and said he was looking forward to the prospect of every moment on the tour next year.

Wilson added: “I’ll relish every single opportunity. I’m at a different stage of my life to Luca, I’ve been there and bought all the flash cars. I’ve imagined being introduced as world champion at numerous events next season and I can’t wait for that.”


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