Alexander Ursenbacher got a taste of the Crucible big time but can’t wait to be back next year in front of a full house, writes Will Jennings.
The world No.87 was the first Swiss player to appear at the World Championship but succumbed to a 10-2 defeat against Barry Hawkins in the opening round, having navigated his way through three tough qualifiers to make his Sheffield bow.
Ursenbacher was unable refind his qualification form but says his Crucible debut whet the appetite for a further tilt at glory at the home of snooker next year.
“I felt emotional after the qualifiers and had tears in my eyes - it was a good feeling when I walked out to the Crucible but it was a bit sad as there was no one to watch the game,” the 24-year-old said.
“I wasn’t really nervous and didn’t really feel anything when I played, nothing - when I was 9-2 down that’s when I started feeling it a little bit.
“Hopefully I’ll be back here next year in front of a crowd - I’m going to keep my game up and work really hard because I really want that, and I really want to make a good living out of the game and be a top player.
“I really want it and I’m really hungry for it, so I’m going to give it a good go next season.
“It taught me a lot, showed me where I need to work on and which part of the game I need to work on, but I still feel very good.”
Ursenbacher made breaks of 54 and 55 in the two frames he won but world No.15 Hawkins was in impressive form under the Crucible lights, bouncing back from a patchy season with seven visits of fifty-plus.
The Swiss star is just starting out in the snooker world, however, having endured a mixed year on the circuit that saw him reach then Northern Ireland Open quarter-finals.
But he’s struggled elsewhere and has failed to progress past the second round at any other ranking event.
Ursenbacher reckons his Crucible experience was invaluable and can only serve him well as he heads into next season.
Swiss Bliss – Alexander the Great Earns Crucible Debut— Janne Ranta (@JanneRanta5) July 30, 2020
World number 86 Ursenbacher saw a 6-2 lead cut to 9-8 but got over the line by taking the 18th frame on a respotted black.
The 24-year-old from Rheinfelden will make Switzerland the 19th country to be have been represented pic.twitter.com/AFyiFONfSt
“I think this experience showed me how important it is to keep the focus,” he added.
“I still feel very good and very confident, but you need to keep the focus when you play any game because otherwise you’re going to lose against any player.
“I feel like I can compete with these players without a problem on my day - I’ve been practicing hard but that was a new venue and experience.
“You take a loss on your debut - I’m just going to keep working hard and hopefully next season win as many games as I can and reach a couple of quarter-finals, semi-finals or whatever and just keep building up.”
Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July -16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.