Jordan Brown, the man dubbed the 'Antrim Ferrari', insists he has the drive to succeed at the World Championship despite his rags-to-riches shock triumph in the Welsh Open easing his financial pressures.
Brown has put in three weeks of hard practice ahead of the World Championship qualifiers at Sheffield's Institute of Sport in which he must win two matches to reach the legendary Crucible Theatre in Sheffield for a second successive year.
The Antrim cueman made it to the home of snooker for the first time last summer, narrowly losing his opening match to three-time world champion Mark Selby.
It is an encounter he feels he should have won but then came redemption of sorts with February's against-all-odds glory in the Welsh Open at Celtic Manor when the 33-year-old dramatically defeated six-time and current world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-8 in the final after starting the tournament as a 750/1 outsider ranked only just inside the world top 100.
Before that stunning victory - worth £70,000 and much more in endorsements - Brown had spent his career battling to stay on the professional tour and just about eking out a living from the game, working in an Antrim filling station up until three years ago to help fund his snooker dream.
"The Welsh Open win hasn't changed me, I'm still the same person. If anything, I am more hungry than ever after that first taste of success," said Brown, who admits there have been "dark days" during which he questioned his snooker calling.
"My friends and family have always been there for me and my Welsh Open victory won't change anything.
"It would have been lovely to have them all there for the final but Covid restrictions ruled that out - just a minor detail when you think about the chaos the pandemic has caused."
But he admitted: "Financially, things have changed. Now I don't have to think in terms of winning a match in order to pay the bills.
"It's expensive to play on the tour - I would say it has cost me about £20,000 this season - so the Welsh Open win takes care of that. But it's still important to keep winning matches.
"I used to go into matches under pressure to win, but that's not the case now which is a good thing. It takes the pressure off a bit and will hopefully help me find my best form."
He is now pushing for a place in the world's top 32 with an eye on reaching the elite top 16 - snooker's Premier League, which includes his fellow Antrim man and practice partner Mark Allen.
But no Ferrari yet despite his moniker.
"I have ordered a new car, a BMW, from my sponsors The Country Garage in Ballymena who have been very good to me in my career. And they gave me a good deal on the car!" he smiled.
A late change in Covid regulations at last year's World Championship - which was put back from its usual springtime slot due to the pandemic - meant that there was no crowd at Brown's Crucible bow and his family didn't get the chance to share his big moment.
This time around, the Sheffield snooker extravaganza is set to be among the first sporting events to welcome back the fans.
"It's great that there will be a socially-distanced crowd at the Crucible," said Brown. "That was the only disappointing aspect of playing there last year. I had hoped that my family would be there but the Covid restrictions meant that wasn't possible. That was a sickener. But I still managed to soak up the experience.
"I didn't play great and if I had maintained my form from the qualifiers it could have been a very different story against Mark Selby, who was there for the taking.
"Selby's experience probably made the difference - he has been there and done it. But I could have played a lot better.
"My aim this time is to reach the Crucible and win a match there - anything after that would be a bonus.
"All matches in the qualifiers are tough. I am confident of making it through to the Crucible if I play the way I have been playing.
"I am just concentrating on my first match. Everyone there will be fighting tooth and nail to make it to the Crucible so it will be a real battle," said Brown, who despite now being one of the bigger names in the qualifying rounds has been overshadowed by the clash of legends between Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry, the great Scot beating 'The Whirlwind' in four world finals in the 1990s before doing likewise on Monday night.
Brown added: "Winning three tough matches to qualify for the Crucible last year should stand me in good stead. That has shown that I can handle the pressure. There will be more expected of me after the Welsh Open win but I can handle that.
"The tour is hectic - which is a good thing - and I have had a bit of a rest since the Welsh Open and am now practising hard ahead of the qualifiers. I will have about three weeks of practice under my belt by the time I play my opening match, mainly with Mark Allen but I have also practiced a fair bit with Fergal O'Brien who regularly travels up to Antrim from Dublin.
"Everyone will get tested before they play in Sheffield but the players are used to the Covid protocols by now. All being well the crowds will be back and it will be more like snooker as we know it.
"I can't wait for the action to start."
The Antrim Ferrari is revved up and ready to go.