Masters 2017: Kyren Wilson relishing Alexandra Palace debut

Kyren Wilson
Kyren Wilson beat four of the world's top ten when he won the Shanghai Masters in 2015 - his first ranking event success
Masters Snooker
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 15-22 January
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Connected TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website and app.

Kyren Wilson hopes mixing with legends and an extended festive break will help bring him success on his Masters debut.

World number 16 Wilson faces China's Ding Junhui in the first round of snooker's premier invitation event at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

The Kettering potter, 25, told BBC Sport he "cannot wait".

"It's a great achievement to qualify and I want to try to enjoy it and treat it like just another tournament - even though it's not," he said.

"It's so hard to get there, so I just want to do myself justice."

Wilson said his form so far this season has been a bit "up and down", but his early exit from the UK Championship at the end of November did have its benefits.

'My head wasn't right'

"At least it meant I had a decent break in December," he joked. "I did okay at the Scottish Open before Christmas, getting to the last 16, and then I had 10 days where I didn't pick up my cue.

"I think that was good for me; I had some quality family time, it was my birthday on the 23rd and it was nice to unwind and relax."

His wife Sophie has not been well, and Wilson said he had found it tricky to focus on his snooker towards the end of 2016.

"I had a few off-table things to think about and my head just wasn't right," he said. "But Sophie is on the mend now and I can focus on the Masters. It's a bit weird having that to think about for the first time."

Kyren Wilson
Kyren Wilson beat four of the world's top ten when he won the Shanghai Masters in 2015 - his first ranking event success

And his appearance alongside snooker greats Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby and Jimmy White in the England team, which beat their Irish opponents at the Irish Legends Cup last weekend, provided Wilson with a slightly more relaxed return to action.

"It's brilliant receiving some really nice compliments from great players like them," Wilson said. "And playing in an event that was a bit more laid back was great fun.

"It wasn't a bad team to be around. I got to pick their brains and play in front of a fantastic crowd. But I have to find a balance; they are threatening my living," he joked.

Facing world number six Ding on Sunday will be a completely different matter.

"I'm the youngest player there and the lowest ranked, so a very big underdog," Wilson said. "But although I am newcomer, I like to think I am capable of winning it. There's no point in thinking otherwise."

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