Blackpool’s James Cahill is already feeling on top of the world after defeating five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round of the World Snooker Championship and declared: “I’m here to win the tournament.”
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The 23-year-old from Marton, the first amateur ever to qualify for the sport’s showpiece at the Crucible in Sheffield, stunned the world number one 10-8 in the biggest shock in the tournament’s history.
And as he plans to relax and practise ahead of a second-round clash with Stephen Maguire which begins on Friday, Cahill is determined to continue his sensational journey.
Having won through last week’s qualifying competition to earn his clash with the biggest name in the sport, Cahill said: ““I play every tournament to win, otherwise I wouldn’t play. You can’t come to a tournament thinking you’re going to get beat... or what’s the point in playing?
“I’ve proved that I can play. I made the most centuries out of all the professionals in the qualifiers, so the amateur thing doesn’t mean anything.
“You’ve got to believe you can beat anyone. I’ve got so much respect for Ronnie, he’s such a great player and my idol really, but there’s only so much respect you can have because at the end of the day you have to go out and beat them.
“If I had too much respect I probably wouldn’t have cleared up at the end there.
One thrilled spectator was Cahill’s mother Maria, a former professional herself who runs a Preston snooker club where James practises.
The victor added: “Mum says she plays every shot and she was probably shaking like I was with that last shot.
“She took me round around the tournaments and took the brunt of me sulking when I lost. My family and supporters are everything. I owe them so much. Everything is perfect today.
“ I don’t have to prove anything now, I’ve got my two-year tour card, (to return to the professional ranks next season), I’ve just beaten Ronnie, and I’m going to give it my all in my next game and see what happens.”
“I’m glad to hold myself together against the best player in the world on my Crucible debut. It doesn’t get any better than that.”