Kyren Wilson savours Shanghai 'breakthrough' victory

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport
Kyren Wilson
Kyren Wilson had to beat four of the world's top ten to win in Shanghai

A first ranking event victory, an overwhelming feeling of paternal pride, and giving your "heroic" father the best birthday present possible - it's been a glorious month for Kyren Wilson.

But the hefty winner's cheque of £85,000 for his Shanghai Masters success may not stretch quite as far as he would have hoped.

Although Wilson's win in China was the perfect gift for dad Rob's 50th, he also plans to give him his car, so that needs replacing.

Then there's a wedding to pay for. And if fiancée Sophie gets her way, that could come a bit quicker than he planned.

"She said to me 'If you win a ranking tournament we will get married straight away', but I am not having that," 23-year-old Wilson joked to BBC Sport.

Wilson and Sophie had postponed their nuptials because of the arrival of son Finley seven months ago.

"We were supposed to be getting married this month but said we would wait a year because of Finley so he's a little bit older and can enjoy it a bit more," the Kettering-based player said.

Needing to save up was also part of the thinking in postponing. But the financial rewards from his win in China, which saw Ding Junhui and Mark Allen beaten en route to a thrilling 10-9 victory over Judd Trump in the final, means that is no longer a major issue.

'Dancing in the rain'

At least if they do bring the wedding forward, Wilson - who at world number 54 was the lowest-ranked player to win a ranking event since 2005 - will do so safe in the knowledge it is keeping faith with a strongly held family belief to live life in the present.

His dad Rob has multiple sclerosisexternal-link and Wilson says the way his father has dealt with his illness is "incredible".

"He's my hero," the new world number 22, said. "His MS is under control at the moment but even though life is tough for him, he just gets on with it.

"We have a saying that we follow, which is, 'Don't wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain'."

Rob was not in Shanghai to see his son: Wilson Sr was itching to be there but the family were on a surprise holiday in Tenerife.

"I had to put him off a fair bit because he kept on at me to come out," Wilson said.

"My mum and dad would have loved to see me win but maybe I will take them next year and they can watch me as the defending champion."

Kyren Wilson
Wilson staved off a Trump fightback in the Shanghai Masters final to win 10-9 with a break of 75

Success comes at a price

It's a title he really earned, beating four of the world's top 10, and winning a total of nine matches from qualifying through to the main draw.

"I probably could not have had a harder draw and that makes it even more special," he added.

"Knowing you beat such good players on the biggest stage with all that pressure is definitely a breakthrough."

But there has been a downside of spending time away winning tournaments.

"Fatherhood seems to be treating me very well by the looks of it," Wilson said. "But I did really miss Finley while I was away. I managed to miss his first word, seeing him crawl and his first tooth.

Kyren Wilson
His first brush with fame came when, as a six-year-old, he beat Peter Ebdon in a charity game of pool.
On his 18th birthday, Wilson took part in a sky-dive from 13,000 feet to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis Therapy.
He first qualified for the main tour for the 2010-11 season, but failed to retain his place for the following term and had a two-year break before winning back his place.

"The tour is so hectic and if you do well you are away even longer. He is such a little character already so it's hard being away, but I cannot complain. Playing snooker for a living is great."

Wilson only qualified for the World Championship for the first time in 2014, the same year Stuart Bingham won the Shanghai Masters. The Essex potter then added the world crown in May - perhaps a good omen?