World Snooker Championship 2019: Kyren Wilson targets first Triple Crown title

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
The computer version of Kyren Wilson
Kyren Wilson said his computerised self looks like he could do with enjoying his snooker a bit more too
Betfred World Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 20 April-6 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, Red Button, iPlayer, Connected TV, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

The computer game version of Kyren Wilson is frighteningly accurate - and that's according to the man himself.

"I am not smiling much," the world number eight said as he met his digital equal. "That's about right to be fair."

The all-out intensity and stoney-faced focus, so well replicated in the new computer game Snooker 19, is something that has served the three-time ranking event winner well so far.

Wilson has already won two ranking titles this season, as well as the Six Red World Championship.

But the 2018 Masters runner-up has been tweaking a few things during his best-ever campaign as he targets a first success in a Triple Crown event at the World Championship.

"I have been so desperate and chasing wins so much it's crazy," the Kettering cueman told BBC Sport.

"I am only 27. Some of the players winning are in their 40s and creeping up to their mid-40s. Look at Mark Williams who won the Worlds last year. Anything can happen.

"Hopefully I have a long future in the game and will be appearing at the Crucible for a long time to come so I am not going to rush it.

"If I win it fantastic, if I don't then I am sure my time will come."

The computer version of Kyren Wilson
Wilson makes a decent start against the Rocket as he seeks revenge for this season's Champion of Champions final defeat

'I just want to enjoy it'

Wilson, who faces Scotland's Scott Donaldson in his first-round match on Wednesday, feels he has been guilty of becoming too preoccupied with winning. He has decided that needs to strike more of a balance.

Younger brother Taylor has joined him on tour and having a travelling buddy has proved a big help.

Winning both ranking events in Germany this season - the German Masters and Paul Hunter Classic - brought a swift return to the change in tack.

"It's a quite a lonely place travelling around on my own especially when you go to China," Wilson added. "So to have my brother with me I have just been enjoying things more.

"If I was on my own I would just be sat there rotting away.

"I would probably get a bit nervy and anxious before a match. Having someone there to talk things through with can ease you into the game. In Germany it was ideal.

"We could chill out, see the sights, have some nice food use the gym and spa and just have a good time and that's what's important for me now.

"I am still young and just want to enjoy it. I have put too much pressure on myself to be winning tournaments all the time so now I am trying to relax and enjoy things and hopefully the trophies will follow as a result of that."

Can a computer game coach you?

A couple of hours spent playing Taylor at Snooker 19 at the Leamington Spa studios of the game's designers Lab42 was a welcome way to unwind in the build up to his fifth Crucible appearance.

Wilson was impressed with the technology and gameplay and felt it could even be used to aid coaching.

"It gives great insight and you can see that it could work as a coaching tool. You can see the angles, the trajectory of the cueball and seeing it on screen can give even more insight," he added.

Simon Humphreys, who heads the team responsible for the game, said there had already been great interest in using it as more than just a game.

"We wanted to make the most realistic snooker game that's ever been made and we feel like we have achieved that," he added.

World number eight Kyren Wilson
Wilson won his first ranking event at the Shanghai Masters in 2015

"Shaun Murphy had a go and he also believed it could be used as a coaching tool. He thought the physics were so accurate that he talked to World Snooker and we have been in contact with a few coaches. It's exciting.

"We have brought our own physics systems and AI systems all from the ground up, Nobody has ever done this before. We have 128 players, we have all the all 25 events on the tour.

"As a gamer we find that people want to experience things in the way that a professional can," Humphreys added.

"When you play Fifa, you don't want to feel like you are down the park, out of breath kicking a ball around.

"You want to feel like Lionel Messi scoring the winner, so we tried to do that with the snooker as well. We wanted to empower people to make the shots they think they should be able to make, but can't in the real world."

Wilson can make those shots of course, but Taylor doesn't have his brother's snooker talents - either on the actual baize or playing on a console.

"He owes me a fiver. I just made a nice 40 break playing as myself and I am sure there will be plenty more money matches to come," said Kyren eying a top-up to his tour earnings.

But the present, and the very business of the World Championship, is back on the agenda in less than 24 hours.

"I am slowly progressing through the Crucible," Wilson said.

"In the first year I was like a rabbit in the headlights and got beaten comfortably by Ricky Walden. But then I reached the second round then the quarters and last year the semis.

"I love playing there. I really feel at home as soon as I walk in to the Crucible.

"I fully believe I can win it. I wouldn't be in the game if I didn't believe I could win it. I don't want that to come across as I am cocky or I deserve it. But I feel like I have always been destined to play snooker.

"As soon as I picked up a toy golf set at the age of two I turned it around and started cueing with it on the coffee table so I feel like it's in my blood and it's what I have always been destined to do."

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