08 May 2024

It is pure theatre – Kyren Wilson wants World Championship to stay at Crucible

08 May 2024

New world champion Kyren Wilson hopes the tournament will stay on at the Crucible, admitting his victory over Jak Jones would not have felt the same anywhere else.

The Sheffield venue has hosted the World Snooker Championship every year since 1977, but the current deal expires on its 50th anniversary.

Former World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, president of Matchroom, has warned Sheffield City Council its days of staging the showpiece event are numbered unless the Crucible is ripped down and replaced with a bigger capacity venue.

In the build-up to this year’s tournament, seven-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan suggested it should be moved to either Saudi Arabia or China in order to maximise profit potential.

Meanwhile, after losing in the first round, Hossein Vafaei criticised conditions at the Crucible – calling it “smelly” and comparing practice room facilities to playing in a garage.

Wilson battled to an 18-14 victory over dogged qualifier Jones on Monday.

The 32-year-old, who was runner-up to O’Sullivan in Sheffield in 2020, admitted his sense of achievement would have been different if the event was staged elsewhere.

“I hope it never moves. It is amazing and it literally is in the writing, it is pure theatre in there,” Wilson said on Sky Sports News.

“It is so intense, so compact, the atmosphere is like no other. I don’t think you can create the same intensity in a big vast venue.

“I understand why there is talk about it. Obviously there is a massive demand for snooker at the moment in all parts of the world.

“It is a great position for the game to be in, but for me it was so important to make sure I lifted it this year because if I ever got the chance to lift this trophy and it wasn’t at the Crucible, for me in particular, I don’t think it would have quite had the same effect.”

Money does come and go, but history and legacy obviously is something that is going to remain forever

Saudi Arabia’s growing interest in the sport has dramatically changed the landscape for discussions.

The first ranking tournament is set to be staged in the kingdom next season, and the second World Masters of Snooker will double its prize for potting the controversial golden ball to USD 1million.

Wilson added: “At the end of the day, everybody has different circumstances.

“People have families to provide for, mortgages to pay, bills to pay, so I don’t know the position that other people are in.

“For me it was just all about being a part of history. Obviously, the money and all of that sort of thing can take care of itself if you are a world champion, so I don’t think there was any point in worrying about that.

“Money does come and go, but history and legacy obviously is something that is going to remain forever.

“At the end of the day, we do an awful lot of travelling. We make an awful lot of sacrifices away from the family.

“So if the rewards are going to get bigger and better, that’s obviously great – but history is something that I can sort of never have that robbed of me.”

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