Barry Hawkins has earned his place at snooker's top table - and he's now called in reinforcements to take his game to the next level.
The Hawk has consistently flown under radar in recent years but this season he is proving beyond doubt that he belongs alongside all the star names in the game.
In a campaign where he has reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship, the final of the Masters and last week narrowly missed out on a trophy again at the Players Championship, Hawkins believes that his recent work with a sports psychologist is helping to improve his confidence on the table.
"I've always struggled with the belief side of things so for the last few months, I've been working with someone and trying to learn some new stuff and keep myself interested," he told Betfair.
"I'm not saying that's the reason (for my recent form), but it's a bit of a coincidence, isn't it? I'm still building the relationship, really, but it's going well at the moment and it's something that I want to keep going with."
The world number eight decided to take the plunge on the advice of a few close friends who said he would regret it if he didn't - and the sessions so far have been a huge help.
"It's hard to explain really - but it just gives you techniques," he said. "It's taught me to just keep telling yourself that you're a top player. It sounds a bit silly, but it's just trying to re-train the brain, I suppose.
"It's just about getting me playing how I want to play and taking my practice game into a match arena - I don't want to keep practising all these hours and hours and then go into an arena and change my game. So yeah, it's just about believing in yourself, mostly, but it's easier said than done!"
Much more than "solid"
Over the years, it's not just been Hawkins himself who hasn't believed in his natural ability. Pundits in and around the game have often been guilty of under-estimating his talent.
It's become a cliché to label him "solid" or refer to him as "under-rated".
"In the snooker circles, I don't think I'm underrated," said the three-time ranking event winner. "I don't let it bother me, to be fair - it's probably because I just go about my business.
"You know, I just turn up, play my snooker and I try not to talk rubbish about anything and make up stories, so people notice you and stuff.
"I'm just trying to win snooker matches and earn a good living for my family. If they want to say that, they can say it. I suppose it's just certain people that don't follow snooker as much looking from the outside in. Amongst other players, I think everyone's been around the game long enough to know how good everyone is."
Another tag Hawkins can't seem to shake is as one of the best players never to have won one of the sport's three major events. But having played in three Triple Crown finals and built a reputation as a bit of a Crucible specialist by reaching the semi-finals of the World Championship five times in his last nine visits, the dream feels achievable.
"It's the only thing that I would love to have on my CV when I finish playing - you know, one of the Triple Crown events at least," explained Hawkins.
"I've knocked on the door quite a lot of times. That'd be something that I would like to have achieved by the time I finish playing snooker."
Denied by "phenomenal" Robertson
The latest player to deny him one of the top titles was Neil Robertson in January's Masters final. They met again in last week's Players Championship showpiece and Hawkins could do with a break from facing the Aussie.
"Obviously, I'm a little bit sick of meeting in the final - I'd like to meet somebody else, but it seems to be that way at the moment," joked Hawkins.
"It's just one of those things - he's just playing phenomenal snooker - he's probably the best player in the world at this moment in time. His all-round game is at such a high level, so it's hard to keep hold of him.
"All in all, it's gone quite well this last couple of months snooker-wise for me. I feel like my game's in good shape. Obviously, you want to pick up the trophy at the end of it but, if I keep playing well and I put myself in my position then hopefully a door will open."
Competing at snooker's top table
Recent deep runs in big ranking events have seen Hawkins climb into the top eight on the one-year ranking list, which is the qualification criteria for the upcoming Tour Championship next month.
The battle to secure his place at that event for a second season running continues next week at the European Masters, where he can be backed at 25/1, but competition is fierce, with the likes of Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Yan Bingtao and Kyren Wilson all in a quality chasing pack.
"The strength and depth - it's getting higher and higher - there's no doubt about it," said Hawkins.
"It's getting tougher and tougher to get through the first few rounds of these tournaments - you can go out at any stage. While it's going good I've just got to try and keep that confidence going and try and make the most of it.
"I'm not guaranteed at the moment. It's so close between a lot of players I think, from what I've read. It only takes one more good run, and I could get myself in it, so I've got a chance and that's the main thing. Not many people are in with a chance of that, so just got to keep me head down and focus for the next few weeks."
If Hawkins wants to give his hopes a boost next week in Milton Keynes he will first have to beat an old friend in Anthony Hamilton.
"He's a fantastic bloke. He's got a great personality and he's a funny lad, but more importantly he's a brilliant snooker player.
"He could be in the same sort of bracket as me really - a bit more underrated. He's had a great career and I think he enjoys it more than ever now he's getting on a bit."
Meeting the Sheriff could be a good omen for one of them though. Their last major meeting was in the quarter-finals of the German Masters in 2017, which Hamilton went on to win. Before that Hawkins shot down the Sheriff en route to the final of the 2016 Northern Ireland Open.
"I'm under no illusions - if he gets going, he can score like the rest of us and he's a brilliant player," said Hawkins. "It's going to be a really tough game. He's not scared of anybody - he's been around long enough to know you just turn up and play and, if he plays well, he's got a chance of winning."