Ali Carter insists being in the best health of his career helped him climb back into snooker’s winners’ circle.
The 43-year-old from Essex claimed a second German Masters crown and a first ranking title for seven years with a 10-3 victory over Tom Ford in Berlin.
And after pocketing the £80,000 first prize and earning a host of lucrative spin-offs that could be worth several times that Carter was left beaming.
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But the qualified pilot known as The Captain has endured life-threatening challenges off the table – twice beating cancer and contending with the debilitating Crohn’s disease.
A rejuvenated Carter, twice previously a World Championship finalist, is also now back in the elite top 16 of the game.
The new world No15 said: “I am 43 and I have got plenty left. I have won in three different decades now – my 20s, 30s and 40s – so that’s not too bad.
“And I am as well as I have ever been health-wise. I look after myself as best I can, and get out and try and keep myself fit. I do all the right things and I think I have a good 10 years left.
“I have binned all the medication I was on, I don’t take any whatsoever. But I have a very strict diet where basically I am gluten-free – though I can pretty much eat anything else now.
“If I do have a blip and eat something else, I have healed my stomach and I am not in bits inside. That enables me to live nicely, to eat well, and enjoy my food.
“I have filled out a bit now from 10 years ago, I am two stone heavier and that is because I am well and feel healthy – and I am so thankful I am here to tell the tale.”
With his week in Berlin Carter sealed a spot at the Players’ Championship and Champion of Champions, and probably the Tour Championship – as well as possibly a Crucible seeding.
🇩🇪 First German Masters win since 2013
📈 Back in the world's top 16
Congratulations, Ali Carter 👏
@TheCaptain147 | @WeAreWST
And he is also in pole position for a £150,000 European series bonus. He added: “I am on a real free roll now until the end of the season, with the extra tournaments leading up to the World Championship.
“I said to myself when I lost to Matthew Stevens in world qualifying last year that it was my goal not to have to be back in the qualifying again this year.
“So I vowed I had to be there by right, which I might be now – and if I can, you not only miss qualifying but you are playing a qualifier in the first round rather than a top-16 player.
“With the win and the extra spin-offs it is not just the £80,000 – it is probably nearer £150,000 even if I went out in the first round of these events. And I am playing good stuff with chances to go and do the business at those other events.
“The money does make a difference. I had some good seasons where I earned decent money, and I have earned a lot of money as a professional.
“But the last four or five seasons haven’t been as good, with Covid, limited tournaments and no China, has affected everyone.
“That said I knew about all the possible add-ons coming into the final and I was worried about it cluttering up my head with a big job at hand. So I made a real effort to block all that out.
“It is seven years since my last title. I had got to a couple of finals, losing one in Berlin and then in the World Grand Prix to Judd Trump.
“Arguably I wasn’t putting in the work as much as I should have, you can get complacent when you have been a pro for 25 years. But recently I have been really working hard.
“I think I have evolved as a player since winning the German Masters last time 10 years ago – and I am a better player than I have ever been.
“I have been working with my coach Chris Henry for three or four months now, and it is really paying dividends.
“I was working with him for three or four months before I got to the Masters final three years ago, but then Covid and lockdown came and with Chris living in Bruges in Belgium we had to stop.
“But now we are back on the case and success has come, so I am delighted.”
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