David Gilbert has made a strong start to his 2016/17 campaign, reaching the last 16 at the Riga Masters and the quarter-finals of the World Open. He appeared in his first ranking final at last year’s International Championship and is enjoying some of the best form of his career. The player from Tamworth cites an increased work ethic as the main reason behind his upturn in form. After a busy off-season perfecting his game, the 35-year-old is currently enjoying a well-earned holiday in Ibiza. However, he took a quick break from the beach to catch up with us and discuss his season so far…
David, you looked to be producing some of your best form in China, making five centuries on a run to the quarter-finals. Can you sum up how you felt the week went?
“I thought I played really well and I have to say I enjoyed it out there. I had a particularly good game against Zhang Anda in the last 16 which I won 5-0. I was just disappointed that I didn’t recreate that play in my quarter-final with Neil Robertson. He is one of the best in the world and there is absolutely no disgrace losing to him. I struggled with my sleep out there and I think that, combined with the long days, eventually caught up with me.”
The World Snooker Tour is now a truly global affair. We’ve already been to three different countries so far this season. How do you find it travelling to events?
“I’m getting a lot better with travelling. I used to absolutely hate it. I would just stay in my hotel room and count down the hours until I could go home. But I’m starting to embrace it a lot more now, we get treated incredibly well. Travelling to Asia can be challenging in terms of the time zones and sleep, but I don’t think I’m alone in struggling with that.”
Over the past year you’ve reached your first ranking event final and climbed to 22nd in the world. Would you say you are in the best form of your life?
“Things have been completely different for me during the last two or three years. I’ve properly dedicated myself. Since Barry Hearn took over there are so many events, that you have no choice but to treat the sport as a profession. Over the years prior to that I didn’t really class myself as a professional and didn’t take snooker seriously enough. That’s all in the past now and I’m beginning to really enjoy my game. My attitude hasn’t always been the greatest and I knew that I needed to practise a lot harder. I’ve made improvements on that and it seems to be showing in my results.”
What are your main ambitions for the season and the future?
“I’d love to win a tournament and if I could ever do that I would die a happy man. For many years I didn’t think that would ever be achievable. Since then I’ve made a final and done well in a few other tournaments. My biggest dream would be to reach the top 16. I’d love to play in the Masters and it would be great to not have to qualify for the World Championship.”
See David in action at the 2016/17 Home Nations series, as he continues his bid for a first ranking title. Tickets on sale now- for details CLICK HERE
English Open – Event City, Manchester, October 10-16
Irish Open – Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, November 14-20
Scottish Open – Emirates Arena, Glasgow, December 12-18
Welsh Open – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, February 13-19