Masters snooker 2021 - Stuart Bingham still has to pinch himself as he prepares for title defence
Stuart Bingham can still scarcely believe either his Masters victory a year ago or his World Championship title in 2015 as he prepares to defend the second triple crown win of his career next week. The 44-year-old wants to add the UK Championship to his CV before he retires to leave a legacy his grandchildren can look back on with pride.
Stuart Bingham poses for a photo with the Paul Hunter Trophy after victory in the Final of the Dafabet Masters between Stuart Bingham and Ali Carter at Alexandra Palace on January 19, 2020 in London, England
"The more of the year that has gone past the more I've had time to think about it and it's just unbelievable to now be a World Championship winner and a Masters winner; probably the two biggest events in the sport.
"I think it proves I've got game to compete with the best and I still pinch myself over what I've achieved in my career."
"My kids will have kids and they'll have kids and when I'm gone, they'll be able to say: 'look, great grandad won the Worlds and won the Masters.
"And for me personally, looking at the greats of (Stephen) Hendry, (Steve) Davis and Ronnie (O'Sullivan), they've won them and so have I."
And Bingham is now prioritising victory in the UK Championship to complete the Triple Crown before he retires.
"The goal (before I retire) will be to put the UK trophy on and a crown (if I can complete it). I'll be hoping I can go there and put on a good show (in the next few years) to get that one won. I've got to the semis three times so hopefully I can convert one soon."
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Bingham is feeling confident ahead of the Masters, which starts on Sunday, but admits that he will need some good fortune to get past a star-studded field.
"I feel like my game is there and I probably just need a bit of a rub of the ball at the right time and I feel like I can get my hands on another trophy. I feel like I'm playing that well," he said.
"The game is so good at the moment that you can't pick and choose when you want to win.
"Players like to peak for the majors, but I just don't think it happens any more. I think there's always one player or two players who it feels like it's meant to be their week and we're all hoping it will be us when we get round to the big ones."