Huge World Championship implications for David Gilbert at the China Open as he eyes huge personal goal
David Gilbert has more on the line than most at the China Open and he is well aware of it.
At world number 16, Gilbert is on course to be the final seed for this years World Championship, and he has just one last tournament to get through to hang onto it.
If the 37-year-old can come through the China Open without being usurped then he will head straight into the last 32 in Sheffield. Drop down the rankings and he will face three grueling qualification matches just to make the first round.
Gilbert understands what is at stake in Beijing and admits it means a huge amount to him.
It will be a huge personal goal for me to achieve to be a top 16 seed for the World Championship, Gilbert told Metro.co.uk.
Its something I never thought would be possible. I always thought I compete against the best players but Ive been so inconsistent I didnt put myself at that level.
Perhaps I should have thought better of myself.
I dont think Im the best player in the world by any stretch, but I feel like I can compete now which is a massive stepping stone. If you believe you can do alright then thats a massive part of it.
I hope one day Im lucky enough to have the feeling of winning something. Its what were all playing for.
Five or six years ago Id never have even considered winning a tournament, just play two or three games and try and make some money.
But with shorter formats now, against the bigger boys, winning four frames rather than 10 against them is a bit of a leveler.
There is £225,000 on the line for the winner of the China Open, so Gilbert has the opportunity to not only stay 16th, but shoot up into the top 10 in the world.
However, with such a monstrous cheque on offer, it means that a vast number of players can also catch him. Even a loss in the final could see the likes of Ryan Day, Joe Perry and Ali Carter usurping his spot in the rankings.
Id be really disappointed to have to qualify and I dont even want to think about it to be honest with you, Gilbert continued.
Id love to go to Sheffield as a top 16 player, that would mean a lot to me.
Gilberts game is as good as it ever has been and his past work as a farmer seems a distant past, although it was only a few short years ago that he was driving his tractor rather than concentrating on his cueing.
I did a lot of farming and forestry work, probably five years ago, said the Derby native.
I decided to give snooker a proper go, put all my money into it and back myself, its going alright at the minute and hope it can continue for a good few years.
I didnt mind farming, sitting on a tractor all day and doing the driving, but Ill not have a spanner in my hand again, covered in oil and all that crap. 5am, 6am starts, you never know when youre going home, but it was alright at the time, it sorted me out.
Ive been a pro many years but I dont really class it like that because I wasnt a dedicated snooker player. The last few years has been totally different. Barry Hearns had a massive effect on my game and a lot more players.