World Championship 2019: David Gilbert relishing landmark season after Joe Perry win

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
David Gilbert
David Gilbert has made the finals of the World Masters and German Open this season
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.

David Gilbert says he is relishing playing as one of snooker's elite players after years of underperforming.

The 37-year-old world number 16 beat Joe Perry 10-7 on Tuesday to reach round two of the World Championship for the second time in his career.

A cold-ridden Gilbert, who plays defending champion Mark Williams on Friday, said it was "a massive win" after the best season of his career.

"It's already been a good year but I will have to play a bit better."

The Tamworth potter turned pro in 2002 and made the first of his five Crucible appearances in 2007. The only other time he progressed into the last 16 was in 2012, when he was beaten 13-9 by Neil Robertson.

"I know I am not the best player but for years I have felt I should be doing better," Gilbert said.

"To think where I was a few years ago and to now be here in the 16 and playing the champion next is massive.

"It's all to play for and I have nothing to lose at all.

"I am a massive underdog but if I can pull it off I am big news for the day. These are the situations I want to be in. I used to shirk them but this is where I want to be now.

"I used to mess about a bit and at the end of last year I could have walked away."

Gilbert's best season has seen him finish as runner-up in two ranking event finals. He lost to Williams in the World Open in August and came up just short in the German Masters in February, where he beat Robertson and Mark Selby en route to losing to Kyren Wilson in the final.

But despite his success this season, Gilbert said the feeling of playing at the Crucible remains "special".

"It is totally different playing here," he added.

"I played in the German Masters final in front of 3,000 people and that is an amazing venue in Berlin but it's nothing like the Crucible."

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