A distraught David Gilbert branded himself “a mess” and could even quit after slumping to yet another defeat against Stuart Bingham.
Former world champion Bingham extended his perfect career winning record against Gilbert to 13-0 with a 10-4 World Championship first-round win at the Crucible.
Gilbert led 3-1 but then lost nine of the last 10 frames before rueing unspecified personal strife and off-table issues he says have made it impossible to focus on the sport.
Father-of-one Gilbert, a former Crucible semi-finalist, said: “I am just not good enough at this level. I don’t pot enough big balls anymore. My safety is far too weak. It is disappointing because I know I am a better player but that is how I am playing, I am not very good.
“Qualifying for the Crucible hasn’t given me more belief. I thought I would play better than that. At least I have some ranking points from another absolutely rubbish season.
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“It is what I deserve really. I have to go and sort my life out, I have been far too big a mess for far too long. I will never be able to play snooker again the way I am. I need to go away and do a lot.
“Stuart probably thinks he played really well but it was like a club player versus a decent player, I was making it far too easy for him. Unless I get into my rhythm and get going, then I am alright. If I don’t, I haven’t got it in me to pot a tricky ball or play a safety. My confidence and belief isn’t there.
“I don’t know, I don’t know what is going to happen when I walk out of it, I have no idea. I miss being able to play snooker to go a good level and compete with the big boys, it is disappointing, but who knows.
“I don’t even know if I will bother again, I don’t know. I don’t mean that in a bad manner, or sound arsey, I have just got far too much going on.
“I don’t know when I will look at my cue again .Who knows? I might put everything back into it. I might never play again. No idea. A pivotal time in my career? No, my life. I have bigger things than snooker to think about.”
Bingham said: “To get through that first round mean everything, losing it end your season is a real downer. That is a good win, there are easier draws than David.
“I want my hands on that trophy again. I don’t want to make the semi-finals to keep my top-16 place, I want to win it. Let’s see how it goes.
“I remember playing [Gilbert] in a Pro-Am, I was the world amateur champion, so we are going back to 1996-97, I think we played at Willie Thorne’s club.
“He beat me and it felt like he didn’t show me any respect – or I just took it that way. Since then, it rubbed me up the wrong way.
“Especially the first few matches as a pro, I had that in the back of my head, it was driving me. It is a massive record, it’s like me and Ronnie are the only players he hasn’t beaten.
“Stephen Hendry was my bogey player back in the day and I couldn’t beat him no matter what. I remember losing him to him even though I was 8-6 up, 66-0, 67 on the table and he dished me up and beat me 9-8. The things that happen are unbelievable.”
Meanwhile Neil Robertson laid down a big title marker with an impressive 10-3 demolition of talented debutant Wu Yize – that included two 146 breaks.
Those monster efforts, just the 5th and 6th made at the Crucible, came in the last three frames.
And 2010 world champion Robertson, well overdue a second success, said: “I think that is the best I have ever played here, for sure.
“I have done everything right this year. Preparation-wise, there is no stone that has been unturned. I get up early, practise early, go home, come back, practise at night.
“It is crazy, only making one semi-final since I won it in 2010.”