Mumbai: Ace Indian cueist Aditya Mehta, who won a gold medal at the World Games in Cali in July, has set his sights on breaking into the top 50 of the world snooker by the end of this season.
"It has been a bit up and down in the last six months. My highest (rank) was 67 last year and I, sort of, let it slip. So I am just focusing on getting into the 64 first. The target for the end of the season would be top 50," said Mehta.
Mehta, ranked 73rd in the world, is keen to do well at the World Open as well as in the UK championship for gaining valuable ranking points.
"I need to start moving around now and get some big wins under the belt especially in the bigger events like the international championships, the UK Championships and the World Open.
"These are the three events with higher prize money and higher ranking points. Hopefully, I can do something in them," he said.
The 27-year-old said winning the World Games snooker title by defeating China`s Liang Wenbo in the final, has given him the confidence to beat higher-ranked players, a trait that will hold him in good stead in the inaugural Indian Open next month.
"It gives you an extra belief that you can achieve even against the odds. A lot of the matches that I did win were against the players ranked higher than me. It shows I have the ability and keep beating the best players in the world.
"It is great for the game because it gives a bit belief to the sport in India and with the Indian Open coming up as well it is a good time for an Indian to do something like that," he added.
Mehta, who won individual bronze and team silver in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, credited experience gained on the tough professional tour for his victory in the World Games.
"It wouldn`t have been possible without that. The experience of playing pro-tour against the best players in the world, learning constantly for so many years from mistakes and failures, that`s what makes you sharper and stronger and capable of dealing with pressure situations while competing at that level. Without playing on the pro-tour, it wouldn`t have been possible," Aditya said.
The 2011 and 2012 national champion did not have much success in the Bluebell Wood Open and said the hype surrounding the World Games triumph got to him, but he has now got over it and is preparing for the hard challenges ahead.
"It was a bit tough coming straight from Cali. When you win something as big as it (World Games), it takes some time to get back into the day to day routine. The first tournament (after World Games), I wasn`t quite prepared for it. I did have a couple of good wins. I beat Nigel Bond. It was still not satisfactory.
"The last one in Germany, the Paul Hunter Open, that is when I had gotten over the hype and just got back to day-to-day life and the work that I was supposed to do. I had a good result in Germany, reaching the last 16. Putting these two together, the World Games and reaching the last 16 in Germany, it looks good for the rest of the season. But I will have to just keep doing what I am doing," he said.
Aditya said he is focusing on the international championship qualifiers and the Indian Open at the moment.
"The regular professional tours would go on. The next one is the qualifiers for the international championships, in the first week of October, and the Indian Open in October (14-18). As of now I am focusing on these two events. The European tour events and and the ranking events would keep coming," he said.
The Mumbaikar is also looking forward to playing in the country as a professional for the first time during the Indian Open.
"I am confident. Playing against the Chinese opponents (in the qualifier) was a good confidence booster. Just looking forward to playing in India for the first time in a pro event.
"It will be a high quality event. I am playing a former world champion in Peter Ebdon in my first match, so it is not going to be easy. But hopefully the crowd will get behind me and we can do something special."