2024 World Snooker Championship: Luca Brecel on Ending the Crucible Curse, and the Surprising Parallels with Darts Sensation Luke Littler

Luca Brecel, defending champ, confident for Crucible defence, inspired by Luke Littler, dismisses superstition.

2024 World Snooker Championship: Luca Brecel on Ending the Crucible Curse, and the Surprising Parallels with Darts Sensation Luke Littler
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Naim Rosinski

(Content Manager)

Last updated: 2024-04-19

8 minutes read

Exclusive Interview with Luca Brecel

In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom.com at the World Snooker Tour's pre-2024 Cazoo World Snooker Championship Media Day, defending champion Luca Brecel revealed his mindset, confidence, and motivations as he prepares to defend his title at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Calm Confidence Amidst Title Defence

Reflecting on his mindset going into the tournament, Brecel exuded a calm confidence, contrasting it with the stress he felt during his first title world title win. He emphasised his newfound composure, stating, "Last year I was just so focused on winning my first game, I was stressed. But this year I feel completely different, no stress, no pressure."

“It’s the same balls on the table as last year and I’m under no illusions that I can do it again, but now I know how to win, I just to need to stay calm and hopefully I will play well.”

Reignited Motivation

Despite lacking motivation earlier in the season, Brecel acknowledged that the prospect of defending his title has reignited his competitive fire. "I haven’t felt motivated all year, unless I’ve reached the latter stages of tournaments, I can’t get that same buzz back. If I can win my first couple matches, I’ll be hungry to win my second championship," he remarked, highlighting the importance of momentum in maintaining his drive throughout the tournament.

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Image credit: WST

Pressure Off, Expectations On

Addressing the pressure of being the defending champion, Brecel revealed a surprising perspective. "Now I’m champion, they expect me to do well, so I felt way more pressure last year," he admitted, indicating that the burden of expectation has lifted, allowing him to focus solely on his performance.

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Brecel's ascent to the summit of world snooker lies in his transformation from a player struggling to secure a single victory at the Crucible to a reigning champion poised to defend his title. Prior to his triumph last year, the Belgian Bullet had faced disappointment in all five of his previous attempts at the iconic venue. 

“I would say there was more attention on me last year actually. Because I had never won a game here [at the Crucible], many people were on my back to get my first win.” 

The Imperfect Perfect Preparation

Despite facing setbacks in his preparation due to illness and missed qualifications in ranking tournaments in the lead up to the Crucible, Brecel remained resolute in his belief of clinching back-to-back titles. "I haven’t had the best preparation, I have been ill the past few weeks, and obviously haven’t qualified for a few events but my mindset is really good. I’m in the perfect place to come here and win the tournament," he affirmed, showcasing his unwavering determination.

The Challenge of David Gilbert

Discussing his first-round opponent, David Gilbert, Brecel acknowledged the challenge but remained unfazed. “Gilbert is one of the hardest draws I could have pulled, he’s a very dangerous player. It’s important I have a strong first session and get comfortable back on the big stage. I can be a slow burner so even if I’m losing 5-4 going into the evening session, I’ll be settled and comfortable to go on and win in the second session,” he asserted, underscoring his confidence in his ability to adapt and prevail.

Gilbert secured his place in the 2024 World Snooker Championship by defeating Xiao Guodong with a commanding 10-6 victory during snooker's Judgement Day at the English Institute of Sport. With prior semi-final appearances in the tournament, Gilbert's track record highlights the formidable challenge awaiting Luca Brecel in the first round. 

Surprising Parallels with Luke Littler

Later in the interview, the conversation took an unexpected turn when the Belgian began to draw parallels between himself and darts sensation Luke Littler, shedding light on their shared approach and personality traits. Brecel remarked, "If he wins or loses, it doesn’t seem to change his approach, we [Luke Littler] are the same. I’m a lot more experienced in my sport than him, but you wouldn’t know it which how he acts."

He went on to highlight Littler's candid nature, stating, "He’s very open with his approach, if he wins 200 grand, he’s not afraid to tell you he’s going to spend it on FIFA points, and I’m very much like that." 

Brecel further highlighted their mutual humility, noting, "He’s a very humble character, like me, and very good for the world of sport." This comparison offers a unique glimpse into Brecel's perspective on his own character within the world of snooker, showcasing his admiration for Littler's authenticity and the shared values they uphold in their respective sports.

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Image credit: PDC

Dismissing Superstition: The Crucible Curse

Finally, addressing the infamous Crucible Curse, Brecel dismissed superstition, stating, "I don’t really care about superstitions like that. It would be really nice to win the title again, however winning it the first time didn’t change my life, so I’m sure a second one wouldn’t either. It would be nice to break the curse and hold another record, but it’s not on my mind," showcasing his focus on performance over historical precedents.

As the defending champion prepares to step onto the hallowed Crucible stage once again, Brecel's confidence, mindset, and determination stand as testament to his status as one of snooker's brightest stars, poised to etch his name into the annals of sporting history once more.

Stay tuned to SportsBoom.com for live coverage of all the excitement surrounding the World Snooker Championship 2024, directly from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Keep yourself informed with the latest news, match results, and interviews by staying connected with our exclusive Snooker content.

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Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

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