STUART Bingham says he learned a lot from last year’s early exit at the Masters as he prepares for today’s opening round clash with world number one Mark Selby at Alexandra Palace.
World number 10 Bingham led 3-2 against Judd Trump in the first round 12 months ago, but let the young Bristolian come back to win the next four frames and book a place in the quarter-finals with a 3-6 win.
The 36-year-old from Vange called it a “bad day at the office” afterwards, and admitted it would be another tough test today against Selby, 29, from Leicester, who arrives on the back of winning the UK Championship and the Arcaden Munich Open in Germany.
“I could have put money on Mark winning that one in Munich because I always seem to play people coming off a tournament win,” joked Bingham, who’s enjoying his best ever season with three ranking titles already to his name.
“It’s always going to be a tough game playing Mark, but if I play like I have been this season then I have got a chance.
“It was disappointing to go out last year the way I did against Judd, but I think I have learned from that. I think last year I was maybe a bit overawed by it all. It was my first time playing at Ally Pally and I was bit like ‘wow’.
“This time it will be like ‘wow – but get on with it’.
“With the wins I’ve had my mindset is totally different now.
“I go into tournaments like this to win. I know if I play like I can then I will win tournaments.
“It’s the same with all sport because you have to take your opportunities when they are there.
“But when I have chances I will be taking opportunities with both hands and giving myself every chance of coming home with that trophy.”
Bingham will walk out into the exciting Ally Pally arena to ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen, while Selby will make his entrance to ‘Underdog’ by Kasabian.
All the action will be screened live on British Eurosport.