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Rejuvenated Kyren Wilson takes inspiration from Ronnie O’Sullivan documentary ahead of Crucible return

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Wilson is fresh from a holiday in Portugal (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Kyren Wilson insists he is feeling “chilled out” after taking a holiday ahead of the World Championship, and reveals he has been inspired by Ronnie O’Sullivan’s documentary.

The 2020 world finalist will arrive at the Crucible with his batteries fully recharged, having not played since the World Open four weeks ago and taken advantage of not qualifying for the Tour Championship by enjoying a mini break in Portugal.

O’Sullivan and Judd Trump have both enjoyed the benefits of freshness this season. O’Sullivan has won five of the 12 tournaments he has played in, while Trump took a tactical break during the Welsh Open before going on to clinch his fifth ranking title of the campaign in Yushan.

The Warrior, who was runner-up at last year’s Tour Championship before suffering a humiliating 13-2 defeat to John Higgins in the Last 16 of the World Championship, hopes his new approach will pay dividends in Sheffield.

“It’s crazy to think we’re already going into another World Championship; it feels like it was only a couple of weeks ago and we were at the last one,” he told Live Snooker.

“Last year, I got to the Tour Championship final and then went into the World Championship feeling a little bit fatigued against John, though he was fantastic against me.

“I’ve been on a small holiday before starting my preparation for the Crucible; it’s not something I would normally do, but it’s important to keep things fresh and try new ideas each year. I’m nice and chilled out this year and been getting lots of practise in over the last few days.

“You’ve seen it work with a lot of winners this year; Judd and Ronnie have put it down to having mini breaks here and there, and then going on to be really fresh. I think it just makes you a bit more excited for the next event. When they just keep rolling one after the other, you keep churning them out.”

Despite that thrashing at the hands of Higgins, Wilson still made his mark at last year’s World Championship.

Indeed, during his 10-5 over Ryan Day in the opening round, he became only the ninth player to compile a maximum break at the Crucible, sharing the top prize of £55,000 with Mark Selby after the Jester repeated the feat against Luca Brecel in the final.

“That was magical and one of the best moments I’ve had in my career,” he recalls. “It’s something that will live me forever. I’m very proud of that.

“It doesn’t matter from here on in, it’s something I’ll be able to look back on when I’m grey and old and got my own grandchildren.”

By that point, another Wilson could well be making his own mark on snooker, with six-year-old son Bailey showing a keen interest in the game.

“He’s a fantastic little talent, he absolutely loves it,” Wilson revealed. “We get in most evenings after school and he runs upstairs, puts his snooker suit on and wants to play all night.

“It’s hard sometimes because I’ve been playing all day and then he wants to carry on playing, so it never stops!

“He’s been in the club a couple of times and plays on one of the tables outside my room. Every time I look out my window, he’s crunching long balls in here, there and everywhere!”

Back in the present, Wilson has endured a fairly modest season by his standards and slipped to 12th in the WST rankings.

Nevertheless, he managed to build some momentum by reaching the German Masters semi-finals and World Open quarter-finals across his last three events.

And the Warrior was particularly impressed by his exploits in the latter, where he battled through closely fought encounters with David Grace, Ashley Hugill and Ben Woollaston before succumbing to eventual champion Trump.

“I’ve managed to find a lot more consistency since the turn of the year,” he said.

“I was really pleased with how things went at the World Open. I had a couple of deciders and a 5-3 win and, in all of the final frames, I made a century to win those matches.

“When you can do that under that pressure, it gives you lots of confidence going into the World Championship.”

That is exactly what you need heading into the 17-day marathon, as well as plenty determination, courage and tenacity to name a few other characteristics.

Wilson has drawn inspiration from watching O’Sullivan’s Amazon Prime documentary The Edge of Everything, believing the Rocket demonstrated the full range of emotions generally experienced in pursuit of the ultimate prize.

The 32-year-old also has many positive Crucible memories to draw upon. Along with his run to the 2020 showpiece, where he was beaten 18-8 by O’Sullivan, he is a two-time semi-finalist and has reached a further three quarter-finals.

Wilson, who will play Dominic Dale on Tuesday, hopes it will all stand him in good stead and put him in the best possible position to finally lift the trophy on May 6.

“It’s always high on the agenda every season it comes around,” he acknowledged. “You always have one eye on it.

“I am one of the generation that are not necessarily chasing it, but wanting to tick that box. This year is no different and I’ll be giving it my all again.

“Watching Ronnie’s documentary, I found it fascinating and interesting that someone as great as him feels the pressure as well. You feel like you’re a bit alien sometimes and think it’s just you, but it’s quite refreshing to hear the top players who have been doing it for years feel it as well.

“I believe that I’ve got what it takes to win it and believe I will win it. To be honest, I don’t just want to do it once; I want to do it more. It’s about using the experience I’ve gained over the last few years and putting it to good use.”