Steve Davis will make his 30th appearance at the Crucible Theatre next month after producing a highly determined performance to beat Adrian Gunnell 10-4 in the final qualifying round of the Betfred.com World Championship in Sheffield tonight.
The 52 year-old, who won the last of his six world titles in 1989, cued very nicely and retained a positive frame of mind to enhance his chances of remaining in the top 32 for another season.
And Davis admitted he is thinking of history as he prepares to play at the Crucible in a fifth decade.
He believes by defying the years he may set a record that even his great friend and rival Stephen Hendry will find hard to beat.
“There was a time in the 1980s when I thought I was unbeatable, a bit like Phil Taylor probably feels now in darts,” Davis said.
“I thought, nobody will ever come along and beat my standard. And then I quickly had that thought rammed down my throat by a young man from Scotland and plenty of others after that.
“From then on, you look at your career differently. It’s not been a case of clinging on but it has been tough against good opposition.
“So to still be doing it – wow. I’m chuffed that I can still compete at any level because in a way you’re not supposed to. To be at the Crucible in your 50s is hard to do.
“I was trying to think of my objective after I stayed in the top 16 at the age of 50. My long term ambition now is that Stephen Hendry doesn’t beat my record of playing at the Crucible. To beat me, he’ll have to play there at 53.
“He’s won more tournaments than anyone else and is the best player who ever lived but I’ve still got one record that he’ll find it hard to beat and I’ve just put another year on it.”