Jack Lisowski believes his potting prime and a golden age of snooker are on a tantalising collision course, writes Will Jennings.
The Cheltenham potter was unable to triumph in the battle of the left-handers as he went down 13-9 to Neil Robertson in the last 16 of the World Championship.
Robertson, the world No.3, delivered a dazzling display to dash Lisowski’s hopes of a maiden Crucible quarter-final and extend his wait for a first ranking event trophy.
Lisowski, 29, has lost in three finals this season but predicts his peak years will coincide with a special new era for the sport.
The upbeat world No.15 said: “The game’s in great shape and the future for me is pretty bright, so it’s all good.
“I’m about five years off playing my best snooker. Snooker’s in the best shape it’s ever been – I think it will keep getting better.
“The tournaments will keep getting better in different countries with different events. Hopefully, I’m going to time it where I’m flying and snooker’s flying at the same time, and I can win some big ones.
“I think that snooker is on the best trajectory it could be, with all these new countries we’re going to be playing in.
“The events keep getting better, the setups of the tournaments are getting bigger and better, so it’s flying.
“I’m definitely trying as hard as I can to just practice – it’s just little things that are showing up in my game.
“My safety’s got a lot stronger this season, which is giving me more chance in a lot of games. I have to figure out where I’m missing out now – I’m just lacking on a few little shots here and there. It’s good fun and I’m not far off, so it’s not a bad problem to have.”
Lisowski reached the final of the German Masters, World Grand Prix and Gibraltar Open this season but has been unable to put a first piece of major career silverware in the trophy cabinet.
He qualified for the Crucible through his top 16 ranking before battling past Ali Carter, a two-time Sheffield finalist, in a 10-9 thriller in the opening round.
That booked an entertaining last 16 clash with Robertson but Lisowski was downed by a fluent display from the reigning UK champion.
Red-hot Robertson, who was also recently crowned Tour champion, struck four majestic century breaks to end Lisowski’s hopes on the Crucible baize.
The Gloucestershire ace did enjoy visits of 116, 91, 85, 81 and 80 but the in-form Australian had too much firepower in the tank.
Lisowski reckons the 20-time ranking event winner is playing some of the finest snooker of all-time and is tipping either him or Judd Trump – his close friend and world No.1 – to be the man lifting the trophy on May 3.
Lisowski, who turns 30 in June, added: “Obviously I want Judd to win – I can’t see any other winner than Neil and Judd.
“I think they’re playing the most consistently by far, and I can’t see a winner coming from anywhere other than those two.
“I’m not far away and it’s been a great season for me – I’ve just pushed a top, top player.
“The standard he’s playing to is as good as anyone’s ever played – he’s so accurate with his potting and his cue ball, so to not be far off that is a good sign for me and my game.
“I won’t lose heart from it, I’ll learn from it. It’s been a great year so I’ll try and have another great year and improve on it next season. I’ll be able to hopefully say I’m a top, top player as well.”
Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3