The 16 Seeds: Gary Wilson
Continuing our series of Cazoo World Championship previews.
By David Hendon
Seed 15: Gary Wilson
Wilson first came to prominence by winning the 2004 World Under-21 title. He joined the professional circuit but was relegated after two seasons and did not return for another seven years.
His second spell coincided with the rejuvenation of the game under Barry Hearn and, with increased playing opportunities, Wilson began to make strides. He reached his first ranking quarter-final at the 2015 Welsh Open and a few weeks later made it to the China Open final.
His progress continued with a run to the World Championship semis in 2019 before he finally captured his first ranking title at this season’s Scottish Open.
Wilson crossed his name off that much discussed list of best players yet to win a ranking title with his triumph in Edinburgh, which included victories over Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson.
The key to this success was his own self-belief. Wilson is a heart-on-sleeve character but he channelled his emotions in a positive fashion and dominated the final, beating Joe O’Connor 9-2. His best run since was to the semi-finals of the WST Classic.
There’s not much to go on from just three appearances but Wilson did reach the semi-finals in 2019, beating Mark Selby along the way. If he gets back to the one-table set-up he will be better equipped to deal with it.
Previous Crucible appearances: 3
Matches played: 6
Matches won: 3
Crucible centuries: 10
Wilson goes to Sheffield this year with the double boost of being a tournament winner and having gained a top 16 seeding for the first time.
He is a livewire kind of player, very determined and not obviously overawed by anyone. He needs to keep his head, though, if things start to go wrong, which they frequently do in longer matches.
Has the potential to cause the established names problems. Would be no surprise to see him in the quarter-finals at least.
Bookmakers’ odds on Wilson: 80/1