John Higgins admits he expected to win a second world title far sooner having also returned to the top of the rankings with victory over Mark Selby.
Higgins replaces Stephen Hendry as the world number one
Higgins, who first won the title in 1998, replaces fellow Scot Stephen Hendry as the world number one.
"I won it nine years ago and was blasť about it," he said. "I thought I would have won another two or three by now.
"It's taken longer than expected. I've won a lot of events but a lot of people only watch the World Championship."
After that initial triumph in 1998, Higgins was expected to become the dominant force in the game, and was world number one for two years.
But his form tailed off and he failed to win a major tournament between 2001 and 2004.
"I was breaking through and, if I had stuck in there and practised the way other guys did, I could have won this again before now," he reflected.
"You think you've done a lot in the game, and before you know it, there are a lot of other players who have overtaken you in the rankings and they are doing a lot better in other tournaments.
I am definitely going to try and build on this
"It is great to come through again, and come through strong, and get to number one in the rankings and I am definitely going to try and build on this for the next couple of years."
Mark Selby, the man he beat in an epic final which finished just before 1am, has risen from 28th to 11th in the new rankings list.
Graeme Dott, the 2006 Crucible champion who led the provisional rankings after a consistent season before his first-round defeat in Sheffield, moves up to number two.
Shaun Murphy, another contender for the top spot but beaten by Selby in the semi-finals, is up to number three, with Ronnie O'Sullivan down to five.
Hendry, who regained the number one spot 12 months ago, has dropped down to eighth - his lowest position since 1987-88.
Other players in the elite top 16 for the first time, as well as Selby, are Chinese sensation Ding Junhui (nine) and Ryan Day (16).
The three to drop out are Barry Hawkins, Matthew Stevens and Anthony Hamilton.
But six-time world champion Steve Davis will celebrate his 50th birthday in August still in the top 16.
New rankings for 2007/08 season: (2006/07 ranking in brackets)
1 (4) John Higgins
2 (6) Graeme Dott
3 (5) Shaun Murphy
4 (2) Ken Doherty
5 (3) Ronnie O'Sullivan
6 (7) Peter Ebdon
7 (13) Neil Robertson
8 (1) Stephen Hendry
9 (27) Ding Junhui
10 (9) Stephen Maguire
11 (28) Mark Selby
12 (8) Mark Williams
13 (10) Stephen Lee
14 (15) Allister Carter
15 (11) Steve Davis
16 (17) Ryan Day