Jackson Page insists he is “here to win” as he bids to knock his mentor Mark Williams out of the World Snooker Championship in his debut campaign.
Page, the lowest ranked player in the event, enjoyed a dream Crucible debut by knocking out 2013 world finalist Barry Hawkins 10-7 to set up a meeting with the man who helped nurture him to become an established professional.
The world number 90 came through four qualifying rounds to earn his place at the sport’s spiritual home, defeating reigning Welsh Open champion Joe Perry along the way.
His close friendship with Williams will be put to one side over the next few days as the youngster aims to register his first competitive win over his mentor and continue his fairy-tale run.
Page admits he is expecting a “fun” match and has teased the prospect of inflicting a first competitive win over his regular travel and practice partner.
“It’s going to be fun. We’re going to be friends afterwards either way; the scoreline is irrelevant,” said the 20-year-old. “It’s going to be a good fight, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.
“We spend almost every day together when we’re away at tournaments; it’s good to have him in my corner.
“I can’t thank him enough really. He’s helped me so much over the years.
“When I first started playing with him, I was just a little kid that went for absolutely everything. Playing with Mark, you learn to tighten up and be more clever on the table.
“He may not come in the club for a week or two – or a month or two – if I beat him. It’s going to be a fun one over two days. There’s going to be a bit of banter going on in the hotel.
“I’m here to win it. I know I can. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and if I do, I’ve got a chance.
“I feel like I probably needed a few years to settle down in the game. When I was in the junior game, I could go for everything and I wasn’t getting punished.
“But when I turned pro, I got absolutely battered for a year or two. Now, I think I’m starting to find my feet.”
The only previous meeting between the pair saw Williams prevail 4-1 in the Last 32 of the 2020 Scottish Open.
Williams produced one of the stand-out performances of the First Round to thrash Michael White 10-3 with the aid of four centuries.
The three-time World Champion, who made his Crucible debut 25 years ago, is now vying to reach the Quarter-Finals for the third year in a row and the fifth time in his last six appearances.