Kilkenny’s David Morris believes a break away from snooker has helped him find a new lease of life at the table after reaching the last 16 of the UK Championship in York.
Morris defeated David Gilbert 6-2 on Monday, following up his shock victory over world number one Mark Selby at the weekend.
The 26-year-old told RTÉ Sport that he felt invigorated after stepping away from the game two years ago when missing out on his card.
He said: “I was losing a lot of interest in going to the tournaments, or even practising at home. I decided after I lost my card not to try and get it through cue schools.
“I wanted to take a year off and I went over to California. I had a great time for a few months and probably grew a lot as a person.
"When I came back, I was a lot more determined to do well. I had recharged batteries and a different outlook on life as well.”
The 26-year-old admitted he had to refocus on Monday after his remarkable win over world champion Selby.
Gilbert offered a different challenge but he came through it, losing just two frames of the best of 11 encounter.
Morris added: “You have to come back down to planet earth after beating the world number one and world champion. You are still only in the last 32. I was playing David Gilbert on Monday and he is a very, very good snooker player.
“A lot of the public might not know him but it was always going to be a very tough match. I think I won a lot of the close frames which gave me a 6-2 scoreline but it was probably a lot closer than that. The first frame was huge.
“I was about 50 points behind and cleared up to win on the black which gave me a 1-0 lead and I turned that into a 4-0 lead at the break. That set the tone for the match.
“Beating Mark was the first time I had beaten a big name on the television and that gave me a lot of confidence.
“But it also brings a lot of pressure when you are going to the next round against a relatively unknown to the public. People would expect you to win. So Monday was just as impressive mentally because you have to come back down to earth and start again.”
Morris will meet Stephen Maguire or Mark Williams in the next round on Thursday.
They clash tonight and the winner will give the world number 62 another chance to cause a shock.
He is enjoying the added limelight in the latter stages of one of the game's flagship events.
He said: “Through Facebook and Twitter I have a lot of messages. I want to thank everyone for that as well. I think it is good I'm getting more exposure.
“It brings it's own pressure. If you're going to do well in a sport, you have to be able to handle that and you have to beat to learn how to deal with things like that. It's good for me. I'm getting to new territory pressure-wise and I'll only grow from it.”