With the 2011 Mosconi Cup fast approaching, one of two debutants in the event, Rhode Island's Mike Dechaine, looks ahead to the tournament and what it means to be representing the USA in pool's toughest proposition.
Watch & bet on the Mosconi Cup live streamed online at bet365
Dechaine has enjoyed a stellar year that saw him win the Ultimate 10 Ball event and enjoy a host of high finishes that eventually saw him finish third in the US Mosconi Rankings.
"Words really can't describe how I feel - all I can do is go out there and try to give a 100%," said Dechaine.
"I am sure I will be a little overwhelmed as well, but that should wear off after day four! It should be fun and I feel proud, honored, excited, and maybe even a little scared. This is the big leagues and these are the best players in the world."
Dechaine revealed that his father, who has been the central influence in his career, will be making the trip to Vegas to support his son.
"My dad has been behind me all these years and he's happy for me. He is a very good player in his own right so he knows first-hand what it's like to play under pressure. It will be the proudest moment of my life and my dad will be there to share it with me. I can't wait to see his face when we take this thing down. It just doesn't get any better than that," he said.
"I was so close last year to making the team and lost my spot at the US Open, so I told myself that it wasn't going to happen ever again. I also played really well this past year, I think due to the fact that I have tremendous support from just about everyone here at my pool hall, Snookers, in R.I. and throughout New England."
Dechaine is pretty sure he will be able to handle the unique pressure that the Mosconi Cup can exert on even the most experienced hands.
"Playing at the World Cup of Pool in Manila, I feel like I got a pretty good grasp on what it will feel like and to be honest, it really wasn't that bad. It's tough to get excited about any event now because they're so repetitive, so this offers everything I'm looking for.
"I feed off this as well and this is a competition and I love to win.I am going to cheer and rub it in their face as much as I can.I'm no stranger to controversy, as everyone probably knows, so when it's getting too tough for everybody else it's getting just right for me. I think I can hang in there with the best of them," said an exuberant 'Fireball'.
The 24 year-old Providence native will be the youngest man in the tournament by some years and is confident that his team have what
it takes to win back the famous trophy.
"I am truly happy with my team this year. I get an email from Charlie almost every day with him having something positive to say.I thought some politics would rear its ugly head but nothing of that sort has happened and I don't think it will.
"I give it to us this year. I know our team has spent a lot of time on Diamond tables and this will definitely play a huge factor in determining the outcome.It's like a coin toss and the coin has to come up heads every once in a while. When you play pool at this level a few bad rolls can sometimes make all the difference.
"Plus the fans are for us and all the energy in the room is going to be for us.It's huge. Sometimes you can feel the electricity in the room and I am sure that's going to be the case," added Dechaine.
The young Americans final word was on the five players he will be facing over the four days of competition.
"I know Darren and Ralph are just two of the best players on earth!Chris has had a tremendous year and I've been watching Accu-Stats of Niels since I was a teenager. As for Nick, I've never heard of the guy, but I don't spend much time reading about pool.
"I am sure they will all play well, but they are going to have to....."