World Snooker Championship: Michael White targets debut win
Last updated on .From the section Wales
Welsh qualifier Michael White believes he can emulate his mentor, Terry Griffiths, by winning the World Championship at his first attempt.
Griffiths remains the only player to win the world crown at the Crucible on his debut appearance.
White faces double world champion Mark Williams in the first round, but the rookie is adamant he can win the title.
"My ambition is to be world champion and I'm hoping it's going to be this year," said 21-year-old White.
"I wouldn't bother going up there if I didn't think I could win it."
Griffiths, the 1979 world champion, has coached White for almost a decade and will be in his corner in Sheffield.
"He'll know how I'll be feeling. He'll be there to help me," said the 2006 world amateur champion, who came through two qualifying rounds to secure his place at the showpiece Crucible event.
White came to prominence in 2000 when, aged nine, he become the youngest player to score a competitive century break, a record he still holds.
That achievement secured him at invitation to play at the Crucible during the 2001 World Championship, where he was accompanied by another child prodigy, Judd Trump.
After seeing the young White play at the Crucible, former world champion John Parrot remarked: "I hope I've retired before I have to play him."
Eight years later, White beat Parrot 5-0 in a qualifying round for the Shanghai Masters. "He didn't quite retire in time, did he," joked White.
Trump, 23, has gone on to realise his potential by winning the 2011 UK Championship and two other ranking events.
White's progress in the professional ranks has been far slower in comparison. Seven years since leaving the amateur ranks, he reached the first round of a ranking even for the first time in 2012.
But White's struggles on tour have not dented his confidence. And a 4-1 victory over Williams last June at a Players Tour Championship event in China has given him further encouragement that his time is about to come.
"I played exceptionally well and beat him," said White, whose match with Williams starts in Sheffield on Saturday.
"Confidence grows with winning. The more you win the more confident you get. That's certainly what's been happening to me at the moment."