Gary Wilson admits he is treating his World Championship show-down with Ronnie O’Sullivan as “just another game of snooker” as he prepares to make his Crucible debut on Saturday.
The Newcastle cueist has claimed the biggest draw of the 16 qualifiers after being paired with 'The Rocket', who is seeking a sixth world title this year.
However, despite the prospect of playing in front of a full house on his first appearance at the Home of Snooker and what will be the biggest match of his career so far, Wilson is adapting a very relaxed approach.
“It’s a brilliant draw. The Crucible’s going to be sold out, so you can’t ask for better than that on your first appearance there,” he told livesnooker.com.
“It’s a great occasion for everybody watching but I’m the one going out there and playing so, to me, it’s just another game of snooker.”
“My only ambition is to try my best and see where it gets me. If it gets me all the way through to the final then it would be amazing, but if it results in a 10-1 or 10-2 defeat in the first round then sobeit.
Although widely regarded as one of the most promising players in the country during his junior days, at the age of 31, Wilson has had to wait a little longer than anticipated to make his Crucible bow.
He first turned professional in 2004 but, after being relegated two years later, had to wait until 2013 to regain his place and was forced a take a job as a taxi driver to make ends meet.
And it is those experiences when the Crucible seemed a million miles away that have resulted in the former China Open finalist seeing the wider picture.
“I could always imagine playing at the Crucible and knew I was capable,”
Ronnie O'Sullivan stands in the way of Wilson on Saturday (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
he recalls. “But, the longer it goes on, the less you think it’s going to happen.
“I’m thrilled to bits. It’s what every player wants to do when they start playing. I’m looking forward to it and just want to play well and enjoy it.
“I’ve been through so many years of underachieving in my own head and, after all those years in the wilderness, I just try to take each match as it comes and not think too deeply about ambitions and what I want to achieve. I play because I enjoy it, because I’m good enough and I can do well, so that’s enough for me now.”
“First and foremost, making a healthy living for the game will be enough to get the job done as far as I’m concerned, and anything after that is a bonus.”
The man from Wallsend enjoyed an impressive spell of form during the qualifiers to book his place in the final stages – producing a magical 147 against Josh Boileau in the opening round, before running out a comfortable 10-3 winner against Michael White to progress from Ponds Forge.
Having already come through three best-of-19 matches – the last of which finished on Wednesday – Wilson has had just three days to rest and prepare for his showdown with O’Sullivan.
Nevertheless, while admitting he would have preferred a bit more time to recharge the batteries, the world number 59 knows his fate is in his own hands.
“I could probably do with four or five days off just to get back into the routine and go back fresh," he added.
“But, at the same time, it might be a better scenario that I’m still in the swing with match practise under my belt.
“It’s all about on the day itself and how you play.”