David Gilbert believes the "stick" he has suffered alongside fellow Englishman Jack Lisowski for failing to win a ranking tournament has been "amazing".
The world number 18 Gilbert ended his 22-year wait for a first professional ranking title at the Championship League in August courtesy of a 3-1 final win over former Masters champion Mark Allen.
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Gilbert had lost his previous four ranking finals since turning professional in 1999, but no longer has the tag of being the best player without a ranking title victory with world number 14 Lisowski having sole ownership of that dubious status.
The Cheltenham player has reached number 10 in the World Snooker Tour rankings despite losing six major finals between 2018 and 2021.
"It's very difficult. People need to remember that when they are getting on Jack Lisowski's case," said Gilbert on WST.
Jack is very similar to me. When he's got to a final, he's come up against one of the greatest players ever.
"It isn't easy to beat these players to five frames let alone 10. It becomes even more difficult.
"Where we got to in the rankings without winning a title was incredible. You see players like Luca Brecel win seven matches on the trot, nick a big tournament (2017 China Championship) and he's in the top 10 for two years on the back of it. "
Lisowski turned professional in 2010 and has lost finals to Neil Robertson at the 2018 Riga Masters (2-5) and 2019 China Open (4-11), Mark Selby at the 2019 Scottish Open (6-9) and his close friend Judd Trump at the 2020 World Grand Prix plus last year's German Masters (2-9) and Gibraltar Open (0-4) respectively.
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Gilbert had lost his four previous ranking finals including a 10-5 loss to John Higgins in the 2015 International Championship final, a 10-9 defeat to Mark Williams at the 2018 World Open – having led 9-5 in Yushan – a 9-7 defeat to Kyren Wilson at the German Masters and a 9-1 loss to Selby at the 2019 English Open.
"I find it amazing the stick me and Jack have took the last few years," said Gilbert, who hit two centuries in a 4-0 win over Ian Burns last week in qualifying for the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast in October LIVE on Eurosport.
"What Jack has done is incredible. He takes far too much hammering. He will win one because he's a brilliant player.
"Looking back on my finals, there is only one I regret and that is the Mark Williams one when I was among the balls with the chance to win 10-5.
"I wasn't good enough to beat John Higgins, the Kyren game was a 50-50 which probably flipped on a bit of luck Kyren had when he was 7-6 up.
He made a miracle clearance and he won it from there. The Mark Selby one was an exhibition of snooker and I don't think Ronnie O'Sullivan would have won two or three frames off him that day.
"It was simple as that."
Having turned 40 in June, Gilbert would love to added to his collection of titles, but is happy he has claimed one ranking trophy after struggling to stay focused on snooker for six months during the Covid-19 lockdown last year.
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"I don't know what the future holds. All I know is that I prepare the best I can for any event. If I can turn up and feel good, I can compete," he said.
"To win a comp, I have to win five, six or seven games on the trot.
"It's not easy at all, but I feel fitter and fresh than I ever have."
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