Lancashire-based snooker player Farakh Ajaib is aiming to make a name for himself in his first full season on the World Snooker Tour.
Ajaib, who lives in Blackburn, earned a two-year deal on the circuit of tournaments in August after successfully coming through Q school – the qualification process for the tour.
The 29-year-old has already been a part of two tournaments this season and soon realised the challenge he is facing.
Ajaib said: “I’m two events in and I’ve struggled so far. I won one match but I’m just coming to terms with the standard.
“It’s quite high, which is nothing that I didn’t expect, but I think I will come to that [standard] next event.”
To ensure he keeps his place on the tour at the end of the season, Ajaib has to finish in the top 64 players of 128.
“I want to make a name for myself and not just be a ‘hangabouter’,” Ajaib continued.
“People with experience tell me that the first year’s going to be a bit of a learning curve for me and then next year I can kick on.
“I need to carry on what I’m doing now really; it’ll take a little bit of time but I’ll get there eventually.”
His next tournament on the schedule begins on Monday (12 October) as he travels to Milton Keynes for the English Open, where he will play a familiar face in the experienced Rod Lawler.
Ajaib said: “I practise with Rod on a weekly basis, he lives in Liverpool so I practise a bit now and then, we actually played last week.”
“I know what to expect now since I’ve been playing him. There will be nothing that will surprise me.”
The winner of that first round tie will set up an eye-catching match against January’s European Masters finalist Zhou Yuelong, provided he beats Chris Wakelin.
Ajaib has been part of major tournaments before as an amateur top-up, but turning professional has meant that he can leave his day job of working as a butcher.
He added: “Last time as a top-up they only let me know like two or three days before I was playing so I didn’t get the right preparation which I am now because I’m playing full time and not working anymore. It’s just snooker, snooker, snooker.
“I wouldn’t want to be going back to being a butcher again so I have to make this work!”