World Snooker: Mark Williams STRIPS OFF after winning title
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Three-time World Champion Mark Williams fights for a place in the semi-finals at the Crucible this afternoon. The Welshman endured a torrid evening last night as China’s Yan Bingtao fought back from 6-2 down to go into the deciding session level at 8-8. Williams struggled to find his rhythm as Bingtao took four of the opening five frames on Wednesday’s evening session.
Taking to Twitter last night with the match still delicately poised, he said: “Never been so happy with a 6-2 drubbing in my life, 8-8 result.”
Their quarter-final concludes this afternoon, with play set to resume at 2:30pm live on BBC Two.
Dubbed the ‘Welsh Potting Machine’, Williams has not always had the best of relationships with the Crucible tournament, having previously voiced his dissatisfaction with World Snooker at the way he was treated.
In the 2019 World Championships, he initially tweeted his displeasure at being a peripheral figure in promotional pictures for the tournament, before returning for a second dig the following day.
He fumed that his son was forbidden from visiting him in his dressing room as he didn’t have the appropriate pass.
He tweeted: “World Snooker stopped my boy Kian from coming into my dressing room before my match to wish me luck and a high five because I used my two passes up and can’t have another.”
He branded the sport’s governing body “pathetic”.
Speaking to Eurosport shortly after, he said: “I’ve had enough of World Snooker to be honest.
“The way I feel I’ve been treated for 12 months is just appalling, in my opinion, and today just rounded it off.
“My boy came in and they wouldn’t let him in with a pass because I already had two passes.
“My missus just said, ‘can he just run into the changing room, wish me best of luck and give me a high five?’
“They refused, just left him outside.”
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He continued: “I had to come out and go to the Betfred Lounge and see he was alright, it’s just unbelievable.
“They all know what’s been going on, if the next world champion gets treated the same as me then I feel sorry for them.”
Going into the 2019 tournament, Williams said he was convinced snooker officials were praying for someone else to win.
He enjoyed boozy celebrations following his World Championship victory the previous year.
He said: “I think World Snooker would rather anyone than me won it this time.
“I think [they think] it would be better for the game if Judd [Trump] or Kyren [Wilson] or one of the Chinese players wins it, that they will do more for the game than I’ve done.”
Williams admitted he spent the year after his Crucible win “relaxing a lot, playing golf a lot and drinking a lot”.
His form suffered as a result, and he crashed out of the 2019 World Championship in the second round.
Three years on and Williams appears back to his best.
One of snooker’s famed Class of ‘92, he is still going strong at 47, and appears to have made a few technical tweaks to his game.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is among those to have taken notice, telling Eurosport earlier this week: “I think he is actually playing better now than he ever has.
“He’s hitting the ball with more authority.
“I watched him play the other day and I just thought, he’s an animal, he’s an absolute animal the way he hits the ball. It’s great to see.”
Coverage of Williams’ decisive session against Bingtao is available on BBC Two this afternoon.
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