Robert Milkins
Finals, Main News, Ranking

Robert Milkins: ‘I’ve gone to some counselling, and she’s obviously very good’

Robert Milkins became the oldest first-time ranking event winner since 1988 with victory in the Gibraltar Open on Saturday.

The 46 year-old matched Doug Mountjoy’s achievement at the same age with a 4-2 defeat of Kyren Wilson in the final.

Milkins, a professional since 1995, won a close first frame with a 71 clearance before adding the second and the third as well.

Nerves started to play a role as Wilson fought back to trail by just one, but Milkins ultimately held on to claim the title at the Europa Point Sports Complex.

It was a double whammy for Wilson who could have qualified for next week’s Tour Championship with success, but instead the final spot in Llandudno goes to John Higgins, who also claimed the lucrative European Series bonus.

Milkins, meanwhile, adds another chapter to this unusual season in which there have been so many unexpected winners.

The highest moment of his long professional career comes just a couple of weeks after what was arguably his lowest, making headlines at the inaugural Turkish Masters following a boozy birthday bash that ended with him in hospital getting his stomach pumped.

Milkins has been seeking help since the incident, where he also made a scene in front of tournament organisers, and he duly let his snooker do the talking in the last few days.

“It’s unbelievable. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this this week,” Robert Milkins told the World Snooker Tour soon after his Gibraltar Open glory.

“I came here and I was thinking to try to win one match and try and get some money, because I’ve been struggling.

“Once I got through that semi against Jak (Jones) – who is a brilliant player by the way – it sort of took the pressure off.

“Before that, you play so many games and it goes up by £1,000 – it’s all good, but you’re doing a lot of work for not much.

“Then that is the big jump to £20,000 so it sort of took the pressure off then, but obviously I’ve never won a tournament.

“They always say that I’m one of the best players to never win one, but I’d never been to a final so I can’t be in that category.

“It’s not a good label to have and I know I’m not going to get many more chances, so I had to desperately try and dig in there to put that to bed.

“I was struggling with self-belief and I was a bit negative (going into the final), but after that break in the first frame it settled me.

“I then played normal for a couple of frames, but then I just got so negative and got worse and worse.

“He didn’t really get much better to tell the truth. It was surprising really, I needed Kyren to play like that.

“I lost my mum when I was 19, my dad a few years later, and then I lost my sister in December, so my head has not been very good really.

“I’ve spoken to World Snooker and I’ve gone to some counselling in the last two weeks. I’ve seen this lady, and she’s obviously pretty good.

“I’ll just try and pick myself out of this mess. To be perfectly honest, this helps a lot but I’m still struggling a little.”

Featured photo credit: WST

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