John Higgins banks on Crucible experience ahead of World Championship

Snooker
John Higgins
John Higgins

John Higgins spoke to Richard Mann ahead of his bid to win the World Snooker Championship for a fifth time in Sheffield.

Higgins has made many happy memories at the Crucible Theatre over the years and is banking on that previous experience when he kicks off his World Championship bid against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first round on Wednesday.

The Scot has been crowned world champion on no less than four occasions and he revealed that Sheffield will always hold a special place in his heart.

Higgins told SportingLife.com: "It's always special feeling when you come down here and to have won it four times, you're obviously proud of that.

"It's a good two weeks and if you can win a match and make it through to the second week you can enjoy some time here."

While Higgins' illustrious career has been littered with a multitude of high-profile victories, the Scot revealed that he counts his very first World Championship title, when beating Ken Doherty in 1998, as his greatest moment in the sport.

Higgins went on: "You'd have to say it would be my highlight.

"I know there are other titles that hold special things but to win the world title for the very first time, which is your dream since you started playing snooker, it has to be your biggest achievement."

Though Higgins has enjoyed plenty of good times at the Crucible, he revealed that last year's final defeat to Mark Selby, having lead 9-4 at one point, was a loss that cut deep and still haunts him now.

Higgins said: "It's a defeat that when you're in your quiet moments, you think about different things and think it was a chance that got away.

"Every credit to Mark [Selby], you've got to tip your hat to him.

"What a champion he is, but it hurts"

John Higgins
John Higgins bids for a fifth world title in Sheffield

Despite that bruising defeat, Higgins took strength from the form he produced in the tournament and has enjoyed another fine season with three major successes reaffirming his status as one of the top players in the game.

A record fifth Welsh Open triumph was particularly satisfying for Higgins who feels happy with his game ahead of another Crucible appearance.

Higgins said: "I've won three titles this year so I'm obviously doing something right.

"I was really happy [with the Welsh Open victory] as I beat Barry Hawkins in the final in a tough game.

"We both played really well and he then went on to make the final of the China Open so that gave me good confidence."

"I'm really looking forward to this event and I've been practising well."

As for his first round opponent here, Higgins is very respectful of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh but hopes he will be able to make his experience count.

He said: "I've played him once and he's one of the guys on the tour I would pay to go and watch.

"He's a fluent player, an attacking player, and he's one of the most natural players on the tour.

"I'm just hoping he could be a rabbit in the highlights because there's no other arena you play in like this.

"I know that because I came here in my first year and I was a rabbit in the headlights.

"I'd love to get on top of him early."

Could a fifth world title be on the cards?

Higgins was typically candid: "Who knows.

"The Crucible throws up some really good matches and I really do think the fans are in for a treat.

"I look at the 16 qualifiers and they all like to go for their shots.

"I can try and use my experience but you don't know how good it could be.

"It's about going out there and doing it now."

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