Kyren Wilson says his incredible success at the Shanghai Masters still “seems a bit surreal”.
The 23-year-old arrived back in Kettering yesterday (Monday) after the biggest week in his professional snooker career so far culminated in him winning his first-ever ranking title.
Wilson beat world number seven Judd Trump 10-9 in a nail-biting final on Sunday having seen off the likes of Joe Perry, Michael Holt and Ding Junghui, in his home country, on his way to the showpiece.
His reward for the dramatic final-frame victory was £85,000 in prize money, a leap from 54 to 22 in the world rankings and a guaranteed place in the Champion of Champions event in Coventry in November.
Wilson admitted he felt in good form ahead of the event and, as the week progressed, he began to realise a big opportunity was opening up in front of him.
“I don’t really think it has sunk in yet,” Wilson said.
“My fiance and my son have been in Tenerife and are flying back today (Tuesday) so once we have started talking about it and celebrating then maybe it will all sink in because, at the moment, it all seems a bit surreal.
“I knew that before I went out there I was having a good season. I had beaten a couple of good players in Germany and then beat John Higgins, which gave me a big boost.
“I knew in my own mind that is was a matter of time before I came good and, as the wins kept coming last week, I knew I had a chance if I stayed focused, stayed in the present and just concentrated on my own game rather than who I was playing.”
Wilson was delighted by the positive reaction he received from his fellow professionals after the success in Shanghai with the likes of world number one Mark Selby and former Northamptonshire man Shaun Murphy sending messages of congratulations on Twitter.
And Wilson also reserved praise for former world champion Peter Ebdon, who was based in Wellingborough for a number of years, after he offered the youngster words of encouragement during the week.
“In snooker, a lot of people don’t want to praise you because the truth is we are all fighting for our living against each other,” he added.
“But to see the reaction towards me from some of the top players in the game after I had won it was really nice.
“We do have a lot of respect for each other and I had a lot of help from Peter Ebdon throughout last week.
“He was texting me a lot in between matches and offering advice. He got in touch with me before I played Ding and we had a fantastic one-on-one chat.
“He has just been knocked out of it himself and for him to do that for me gave me a really big lift.”
Read more from Kyren Wilson in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph