Kettering’s Kyren ready to enjoy his Masters experience

Kyren Wilson will make his Masters debut on Sunday
Kyren Wilson will make his Masters debut on Sunday

Kyren Wilson will try to treat the Dafabet Masters as “just another tournament” when he steps out at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

The Kettering snooker ace has been one of the rising stars of the sport over the past couple of years – a fact confirmed by him making his debut in the prestigious event this year.

The 25-year-old has charged up the rankings to become one of the top 16 players in the world.

Wilson, who was playing in Group Four of the Championship League yesterday (Wednesday) and today, will take on the world number six and previous Masters winner Ding Junhui in the first round on Sunday night.

And the Kettering cueman insists he won’t be heading to London just to make up the numbers, despite being the lowest-ranked player in the competition.

“I have practised hard since Christmas and I have got right back into the swing of things,” Wilson said.

“I played in a Snooker Legends exhibition in Ireland last weekend and that was a great experience as well as being good further preparation.

“I am just really excited to be part of the Masters but I am trying to look at it as just another tournament that I want to do well in.

“I am not there to make up the numbers but it’s a hard competition to get into and I am proud that I will be there.

“I am going to try to enjoy it and perform as well as I can.”

The start of a new year means the countdown to the Crucible is also under way with the Betfred World Championship due to start on April 15.

Wilson reached the quarter-finals last year but he insists his main aim for the next few weeks is to ensure he doesn’t have to qualify to be part of the field in Sheffield.

“I can’t believe how quickly this last year has gone,” he added.

“The World Championships really aren’t that far away, so I have to make sure I consolidate my place in the top 16 so I don’t have to qualify.

“That will be my main target for the tournaments that are coming up.”

Wilson will be making his debut in the Masters, which is considered to be one of the sport’s Triple Crown events, alongside the World Championship and the UK Championship.

Only the elite top 16 players are invited to compete for the famous trophy and a top prize of £200,000.

The event has been staged at the Alexandra Palace in front of sell-out crowds since 2012 and last year’s event was won by Ronnie O’Sullivan, who beat Barry Hawkins in the final.