Rory McLeod: World number 61 vows to build on biggest win

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McLeod 'finally' brings trophy home

World number 61 Rory McLeod has said the biggest win of his career is just the start of a new chapter.

The 44-year-old secured his first title carrying ranking points with victory in the Ruhr Open in Germany on 11 October.

Leicester-based McLeod, who first turned professional in 1991, said his success felt "amazing".

He told BBC East Midlands Today: "It's the beginning. If you really want something you have to be dedicated and in there for the long game."

McLeod, snooker's only black professional, had to win seven matches to lift the title - which came after a 4-2 win over China's Tian Pengfei in the final.

His only previous title glory was when he qualified for the Masters in 2009.

"It hasn't been easy. In this game there are a lot of downsides," he added.

"After all this amount of time it is absolutely amazing. It shows I am in it and if I want something I will stay there until I get it.

"The trophy looks sweet. I saw it on the very first day. I didn't want to look at it too much but knew I wanted it. Getting my hands on it was absolutely beautiful.

"I'm here and don't want to go anywhere."

Rory McLeod
McLeod has twice qualified for the World Championship, reaching the second round in 2011 when he was beaten by John Higgins

McLeod is a devout Muslim and said his faith helped him stay composed as he closed in on victory last Sunday.

He said: "I am a Muslim first, and second I am a family man. My kids and wife mean the world to me. And then I am a snooker player.

"I felt a calm in the final. Having the thought that I could go to the final and not walk away with the title was such a horrible feeling so I had to put it to the side and not even think about it.

"You have to dismiss it immediately. You are there to win. People remember winners.

"My four kids and wife are over the moon. My children would ask 'When are you bringing a trophy home?' I would say soon - and finally I have brought one home."

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