Snooker star Jimmy Robertson hopes that his first ranking title will help him achieve further success as he looks ahead to next week’s BetVictor English Open in his home county.
The Bexhill-based potter beat Joe Perry in the final of the European Masters in Belgium on Sunday, having never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event since turning pro in 2002.
And the 32-year-old plans to keep his momentum going at the English Open, which will take place at K2 Crawley from next Monday until the following Sunday.
“I have more confidence and belief now so hopefully it can be a platform to more success,” he told World Snooker. “It’s great to have a tournament in Crawley because I can travel there on the day and if I can get to the later stages then I will have friends and family come to support me.”
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Robertson struggled to fulfil his potential in the early part of his career, but insists he never considered quitting the sport.
“I love snooker so much that I have never wanted to stop playing,” he said. “Even if I had £10 million in the bank I wouldn’t quit, I’d still be playing on the tour because I enjoy it.
“There have been a lot of low points over the years. Every match you lose hurts. There is a lot of financial pressure if you are not winning, but my parents Brian and Mandy have given me so much support over the years, I owe everything to them.”
Over the past two years, Robertson has worked with sports psychologist Martin Perry to help him cope with the demands of professional sport.
“My problem in the past has been that I have played well in the early rounds of tournaments, but then when I got to the later stages, especially playing on television, I would freeze,” he said.
“It was so frustrating because I knew I had the ability, I just couldn’t relax and play my game. At times I was a nervous wreck and just couldn’t cope with it.
“I speak to Martin after matches and he helps me to stay relaxed. It doesn’t mean I will always win, but with more freedom, I can play to a better standard more often.”
Top stars including defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world number one Mark Selby, world champion Mark Williams, John Higgins and Judd Trump will be among the field of 128 players in Crawley.
Tickets are on sale now and start at £10 - and with up to eight tables in play during the early rounds, it promises to be tremendous value for money.
All-day tickets start at £20, and there are still a limited number of tickets available for the showpiece final on Sunday October 21, with all-day tickets at £55.
There are also a limited number of event passes, which give access to every session of the tournament for £160. For ticket details, visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets or call 0871 620 7052.