YAN BINGTAO insists it is ‘impossible’ he will break Stephen Hendry’s record and become snooker’s youngest ever world champion.

Chinese sensation Yan shot to global fame by being crowned Masters champion in January and kicked off his pursuit of Crucible glory with a 10-6 win over Martin Gould.

The world No.10 only turned 21 in February and would become the youngest ever winner if he soared to Sheffield nirvana – breaking Hendry’s long-standing record by a month.

The seven-time Crucible king first lifted the storied trophy in 1990 but hotly-tipped Yan played down his chances – and reckons his prospects of following in the Scot’s footsteps are next to nothing.

Asked if he can emulate his memorable Masters triumph, the ‘Tiger’ said: “It’s impossible.

“It’s very difficult and I have little chance. I’m working hard every day from this match but it’s impossible – 17 days [at the Crucible] is a long time.

“I played good, had many very good breaks and hit back-to-back centuries. I had good breaks to give me the confidence in the match.

“Any Chinese player can win the title – not just me or Ding [Junhui]. But [Ding] has the best chance.

“It was very difficult today and [Martin] is a very dangerous player. At 4-4 it was a difficult match, but I relaxed more, enjoyed it and didn’t think too much. I played good.

“Winning the Masters has given me very big confidence. It changed my life but every day is practice, practice for the World Championship.”

The 2019 Riga Masters champion struck five half-century breaks in the first session against Gould but struggled for his usual fluency.

And Gould, the world No.27, made a fine seventh-frame visit of 109 while a rock-solid second-frame 54 pegged the Chinese ace back.

But Yan soon began to hit his potting straps in Sunday’s second session as he rattled off breaks of 130, 116, 70 and 67 to see off the Pinner Potter and book a second round date with either Shaun Murphy or Mark Davis.

Yan toppled four-time Crucible king John Higgins in a thrilling Masters final and currently resides in Sheffield, where he practices at the Vic Snooker Academy.

He struggled with life in lockdown but says he’s relishing normality resuming in his adopted famous snooker city.

“We’ve finished the lockdown and there are people in restaurants and having coffee, tea and drinks,” he added.

“There are so many people out and I’m so happy. For such a long time there were no people in the street. I’ve practised at home, gone to the supermarket and then back to home every day.

“I enjoy living [in Sheffield] here – it’s a good city and I’m enjoying the club.”

Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3