Stuart Bingham believes World Snooker Championship draw has played into his hands


Masters champion Stuart Bingham is looking to make the most of his Crucible experience (Picture: PA)

Stuart Bingham believes his quest for a second World Snooker Championship title has been helped by the scheduling as he looks for a ruthless performance against debutant Ashley Carty in the first round.

The 2015 world champion takes on Crucible newcomer Carty on the opening day of the tournament and wants to make his experience pay.

This year’s World Championship is a completely unique affair, with the coronavirus seeing it pushed back to start at the end of July and played out in front of a two thirds empty Crucible.

While Bingham admits it is going to be a surreal event for all players, his experience should help him deal with the odd surroundings more than the 25-year-old Yorkshireman.

‘I’d rather have played a bit later, but the first morning, that should favour me, playing Ashley with him not sure what it’s going to be like,’ Bingham told Metro.co.uk.

‘I haven’t played Ashley before. I’ve obviously seen him in tournaments but never got to play him.

‘It’s going to be good, he’s obviously done well coming through qualifying, but I’m just looking forward to playing a proper tournament now.’

Carty came through qualifying to book his place at the Crucible, an achievement which also secured his place on tour for the next two years, which was under serious threat.

The Crucible newcomer was very emotional after beating Robert Milkins to make his World Championship debut, and Bingham can understand that while this is an unusual edition of the tournament, it is still a monumental moment in a player’s career.

‘I’ve walked in there with no crowd and it still gives you goosebumps,’ said Bingham. ‘I saw Ashley’s interview, he welled up, had tears in his eyes, it’s such a big thing for us players.

‘Even with 200-300 there it should be a bit of a buzz. some of the tournaments we play in, you get them sort of crowds. But it still will be a bit surreal, a bit weird playing there.’

It will be a weird end to what has been a weird season for Bingham, sensationally wining the Masters in January, but largely doing nothing else of any note over the rest of the campaign.

He has no explanation for the massive win among other struggles, but is certainly not complaining about it.

‘Other than the Masters, I think I’ve got to one quarter-final, so it ain’t been good in ranking events,’ explained the 44-year-old. ‘Obviously winning the Masters is unbelievable, but it’s a mixed bag. I’d have taken that at the start of the season, though, definitely.

‘I try 100% every game I play in. I can’t put my finger on it really. Its weird trying to look back, having been in lockdown so long, I’m trying to get back into snooker mode.

‘Look, I’ve just come up against people playing well and I’ve had a couple of bad games, that’s how quick the season can get away from you. The standard these days is so good, you don’t have to have a bad game to lose.’

It could still prove to be a spectacular season for Ballrun if he can win a second World Championship, after lifting the trophy in 2015.

He experienced the mania of becoming a first-time world champ, but would savour the feelings even more second time around, and would absolutely not care if it came under unusual circumstances or not.

‘It would mean everything. It would make it extra special, having won it once but not knowing what goes with it, but to get me hands on it a second time and knowing what comes with it, it would be extra special,’ he said.

‘I don’t think anyone will care if there’s an asterisk next to it or not. You get your hands on it and your name engraved on that trophy and it’s there for good.

‘Like golf, you write your score down and it’s there, there’s no picture of how your get it, it’ll just be in the history books.’

If Bingham can lift the trophy for a second time then it will mean another tattoo to add to his epic collection, celebrating his tournament wins.

‘I’m sure my friend Paul Boxhall will have something planned,’ said Stuart. ‘He’ll most probably try and put a trophy on my stomach or something.’

Bingham takes on Carty in the morning session on Friday, with the match concluding on Saturday morning.

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