Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone that has been in touch with me since I won in Poland yesterday.
You try and respond to as many as you can but it’s impossible to get back to everyone but I am very grateful for everyone who has contacted me.
It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m a winner again – it’s been that long since the last one. After the Worlds in 2005, I won at least one event each year and kind of took it for granted that I’d keep on winning one per season. Instead, I’ve spent the last three years finding out the game is not that easy.
I do feel a glow of satisfaction. It’s just so nice to see the pay-back for all the hard work through the last year. I’d upped my work ethic and, at times, it was so frustrating that bad result seemed to follow bad result for different reasons. So to finally get back into the winner’s circle feels very rewarding and what it is all about.
I must admit I wondered if I’d ever get this again. Losing to Neil Robertson in the Masters final and to Mark Selby in the UK final, I began to wonder if I’d ever win again. A run of semi-final losses didn’t help. The most recent one was getting beaten at Ally Pally by Selby – that was the lowest point probably. I began to think about doing other stuff alongside my snooker.
But hey, I guess success likes to lurk behind defeat. Sometimes you just have to be persistent.I travelled back from Poland this morning – with the trophy beside me. Literally! I wasn’t given a box to carry it in, so there it sat on the seat next to me on the plane! It was good conversation starter, anyway.
Seriously, it’s great to have a trophy in my hands again. It’s never been about anything else for me – not money. Lifting a trophy and taking it home, that is what it’s about. My trophy cabinet has been a bit bare after recent times, so it’s nice to have a new winner’s trophy for it.
What the win has done is remind me that I can win. To get over the line goes such a long way to giving me that self-confidence which has been lacking the last few years. I’ve taken some hard beatings and when you are there in the middle the last thing you need is to have an attack of doubt. So this has shown me that
I’ve not forgotten how to win – simply, I just hadn’t won for a while.
Who knows where I can go from here, now I’ve won again? There are quite a few tournaments to come, including the biggest of them all – the Worlds – and I can’t wait to play.