Kettering snooker star Kyren Wilson admits he has to pinch himself when he steps back to reflect on his incredible rise up the rankings.
The world number 14 is gearing up for his second appearance at the prestigious Dafabet Masters, which got under way at the Alexandra Palace in London at the weekend.
The 26-year-old has been one of the rising stars in the sport since returning to the professional tour in the 2013-14 season and is now firmly established in the top 16 in the world.
He claimed his first ranking title with a memorable 10-9 victory over Judd Trump in the final of the Shanghai Masters in 2015, although a second crown has, so far, eluded him with three more final appearances all ending in defeat - the latest of which was when he was beaten by Ronnie O’Sullivan in the English Open in October.
But Wilson is hopeful that second title isn’t far away.
“To be honest, it scares me if I take that step back and look at what I have done, I have to pinch myself,” the Kettering cueman said.
“I had the two years where I dropped off (the professional tour) but I have had five or six years as a professional and to have had two of those in the top 16 is something I am very proud of.
“I feel like I am established in the top 16 now and the only that is missing is that second title.
“I wouldn’t say I am chasing it but I do feel like I am doing the right things and hopefully, if I keep knocking on that door, it will open for me eventually.”
The Masters, which sees the top 16 players in the world in action, is widely regarded as the most prestigious tournament on the calendar and Wilson made his debut in it last year when he was beaten 6-3 by Ding Junhui in the first round.
This year, Wilson’s campaign begins against world number seven Barry Hawkins tomorrow (Tuesday) night and he is determined to better his performance from 12 months ago.
“I look back at when I was in this position last year and I was about to play Ding in my first appearance at the Masters and I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone,” he added.
“It is the best 16 players in the world so it’s a very high standard for the tournament.
“I am chuffed to be part of it again and I want to try to do better than I did last year.
“I think it’s always good to set targets each year.
“You always remember how you did in each particular event so you want to try to improve your performance in each one.
“Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as that!”