I’ve been a professional for 10 years but, even before that, I used to dream of playing at the Crucible. Now I get my chance, and I intend to grab it with both hands.
My first aim is to beat Ali Carter in the first round on Monday and Tuesday and then, if I play well, anything is possible. It’s just such a privilege to be playing there in the first place. Getting there is always the first step you want to achieve, so I will make the most of walking out into that famous arena for the first time.
I don’t know if MC Rob Walker has got a nickname lined up for me – I’ve been called the Flame-Haired Assassin before but I don’t think I’m too keen on that. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
Carter in the first round could have been worse, and it could have been better. I didn’t mind who I got really, apart from Mark Selby – I did not want to play him. We practice together and it would have been a bit awkward playing each other, we’d both prefer to leave that to the final, seeing as we’re in opposite sides of the draw.
I wouldn’t have minded Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round, it would have been amazing to play him. And I think he could be vulnerable too, so there’s probably no better time to play him at the Crucible. There may not even be many more opportunities to do so.
If I get past Carter and O’Sullivan beats Marcus Campbell, we will meet in the second round, so that’s an extra bit of incentive. But I’m not looking that far, I’m just delighted to be there and I’m confident in myself.
Carter obviously likes it in Sheffield, he’s been runner-up twice, including last year, and been a semi-finalist too, so he will be the favourite against me. But there’s no reason why I can’t win if I play well, and to do that I’ve just got to stay positive, go for my shots and draw on my 10-9 win against Ryan Day in the final qualifying round.
That was a special moment, and I was really pleased that my wife Tatiana and our son Edward, who’s five months, were there to see it. If anything, I want to do it for them.
Keep an eye out for a special World Championship Q&A with Ben – and our other Living Snooker bloggers – during the Crucible fortnight.
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