Martin Gould is confident he can go all the way in the World Snooker Championship next week. The Pinner Potter has qualified for the show-piece event for the second year in succession and launches his bid for the title against Marco Fu at the Crucible in Sheffield on Monday.
Last year the 28-year-old missed out on a last 16 tie with Ronnie O'Sullivan after a 10-6 defeat to Mark Allen.
However, Gould, who has given up his part-time job as a poker club croupier to concentrate on his snooker, aims to progress beyond the first round at the very least this time despite enduring a dismal season on the circuit which, prior to the World qualifiers, had seen him fail to win a match since the season began last August.
World No.46 Gould, who practices at North Harrow Snooker Centre, says his game has improved since he enlisted the services of a meditation guru earlier this year.
“I beat Bjorn Haneveer (Belgium) 10-8 and Nigel Bonds 10-4 to qualify, and I did not really miss a ball against Nigel,” said Gould. “I had only won one match up until the Worlds but I have changed a few bits and pieces away from the table. Now I am more relaxed and happy with my game.
“I have been working with someone on my mindset and concentration skills and am starting to benefit from the sessions.
“I have never played Marco Fu before but I am confident and not afraid of anyone in the competition. I feel I have got as good as chance as any of the top 16 to win it.”
Gould, who reached the World Mixed Doubles finals with Newcastle's Pam Wood in Cambridge last week, says a strong start against 2006 semi finalist Fu is vital if he is to overcome the 32-year-old.
“Last year against Mark Allen I started playing well when I was knocking on the door to go home,” he added. “I have got to perform right from the start and keep it going right through.
Fu, who is ranked 13 th on the provisional list before it is revised after his Crucible showdown, said of Gould: “I have never seen him play but I spoke to Mark Allen who said Martin nearly beat him last year, so it won't be easy.”