It’s a learning curve for Kyren as he tries to find the right balance

Striking the right balance between your professional and personal life remains one of the biggest challenges many people face.

By Jon Dunham
Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 10:32 am
Kettering's Kyren Wilson will make his fourth appearance at the Dafabet Masters in January
Kettering's Kyren Wilson will make his fourth appearance at the Dafabet Masters in January

For Kyren Wilson, that has certainly been the case over the past few months.

By his standards, the Kettering snooker star is going through a bit of a dry spell when it comes to tournament wins on the World Snooker Tour.

Last season proved to be one of Wilson’s most successful as he won three competitions – the Paul Hunter Classic, the Six-Red World Championship and the German Masters – while only be narrowly edged out by the legendary Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Champion of Champions.

In 2019-20, however, reaching finals and getting over the line has proved a bit harder.

He just missed out on defending the Paul Hunter Classic in August as he was beaten 4-3 by Barry Hawkins in the final while a 6-5 defeat to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the semi-finals of the World Open a couple of months ago was a tough pill to swallow.

Wilson, who turned 28 on December 23, is a family man.

He has never made any secret of just how proud he is of his family life with wife Sophie and his two young sons.

And he admits this season has been a learning curve for him when it comes to striking that balance between his home life and his blossoming career.

“I have just found it difficult this year,” he said.

“I think in terms of family life, my eldest son is starting school for the first time and my youngest is growing up all the time and I have just found it a bit difficult to get on the road, more difficult than I have done in the past.

“I don’t think my mind has really been on it like it should be but I feel like it is now and I feel like I am playing catch up.

“It’s really strange because I feel like I am playing the best I have actually played in such a long time but I am not pulling up any trees. I am ticking over but not really doing anything exciting.

“I am a pretty young father so it’s been a bit of learning curve, trying to deal with both sides of my life.

“But I feel I have handled it quite well. It’s all about trying to find the balance between doing the right thing as a parent while also being a little bit selfish when trying to progress in my career.”

It may seem that there is a negative tone to the interview so far.

That’s certainly not the case, however. as Wilson observed, it’s just another learning curve for him and professional sport is full of those.

The fact remains that the Kettering man is currently ranked eighth in the world and one of the toughest players to beat on the World Tour.

And there is plenty of evidence to prove that, not least in the way some of his losses have come about.

He hasn’t been on the end of any thrashings but there has been frustration with close contests not quite going his way.

But, as a new year dawns, new opportunities present themselves.

January brings with it the Dafabet Masters - the tournament that brings the top 16 players in the world together.

It was two years ago when Wilson had his standout moment at the Alexandra Palace.

He defeated Hawkins, Mark Williams and Judd Trump to reach the final of the Masters where he was eventually beaten 10-7 by Mark Allen - a loss that brought with it a huge amount of emotion.

And, as he prepares for his fourth Masters appearance which will start with a first-round match against Jack Lisowski on January 15, Wilson is hoping a bit of luck might come his way.

“Every season you aim to win at least one trophy,” he said.

“That’s always the goal and with the standard nowadays, I think if you are winning one event a year then you are doing quite well.

“I just need to carry on doing things the way I have done recently. I have started to put my snooker first in many ways.

“I have lost so many deciders this season, it’s incredible.

“You can take that one or two ways. But I feel like I am always competing, no-one is wiping me off the table and whether I am playing well or not, I am losing by the odd frame.

“I think I am a hard player to beat. It’s just about having a bit of luck and finding form at the right time.

“It would be nice to find it in the Masters.”