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Carter believes his best years are ahead
3:56pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in Sport
ALI Carter believes his best years are ahead of him.
The snooker star has a new lease of life, having been buoyed by his recent success at the German Masters.
It was the third ranking title of his career and reminded the 33-year-old that he can hold his own with the big guns in the top 16.
“I still feel I’ve got my best years ahead of me and I’m re-enthused after what happened in Germany,” said Carter, who grew up in Tiptree but is now based in Chelmsford.
“It’s great because there are so many tournaments to play in now.
“It’s not like it was four or five years ago, when there might only be half-a-dozen each year.
“Now there’s plenty to choose from and, because of that, I can play in the ones I want to play in.
“I can play on my terms and I feel I’ve earned that right, because I’ve been around for a few years and worked hard to get in the top 16. I’ve put the hard yards in and I’ve had a lot of help along the way.
“(Former world champion) Peter Ebdon has been a big influence on my career and I’ve also been chatting to people like John Parrott.
“I had a hard time, as everyone knows, but there’s no reason why I can’t keep challenging for more titles.”
Carter’s new-found enthusiasm is a welcome reverse from the 2011/12 season.
In addition to his well-documented battled with Chron’s disease, his campaign got off to a poor start as he made early exits from the first two ranking events of the year, the Australian Goldfields Open and the Shanghai Masters.
He then lost to Mark Allen in the last 16 at the UK Championships.
It was a setback that led to him announcing plans to retire at the end of the season and that he was “dead serious” about the threat.
Later he admitted the comments were made in the heat of the moment, but that he had some serious thinking to do at the end of the season.
Thankfully, Carter vowed to press on and his determination was rewarded by success in Berlin.
“It was a long time coming,” said the two-time World Championship runner-up, who suffered a setback when he failed to make the recent Welsh Open, surprisingly losing to Gerard Greene in the qualifiers in Sheffield.
“I’d been knocking on the door for a long time, so it was great to get another ranking title on board.
“It wasn’t just any title, either.
“It was a big one and an excellent competition.
“It was amazing how popular the snooker was out there and a brilliant place to play.
“It took a while to sink in and for the first couple of days I was looking over my shoulder, thinking someone was going to come along and nick it off me.”