Mark Williams vows to cartwheel naked if he wins a fourth world title

Snooker
Mark Williams held off John Higgins to win the world title
Mark Williams held off John Higgins to win the world title

World champion Mark Williams has vowed to "cartwheel naked" in the Crucible Theatre if he wins the World Snooker Championship next year.

Williams landed his third world title when defeating John Higgins 18-16 in an epic climax to an enthralling final at the Crucible Theatre yesterday.

True to his world, the Welshman performed his post-match press conference naked bar a sponsors' towel having promised to do so if he went on to lift the trophy.

Williams said: "If I won this again next year, I'd do this again - I'd cartwheel round here naked."

For Williams, victory capped a remarkable turnaround in fortunes which had taken such a downturn turn that he seriously considered retirement at the end of last season.

His wife, Jo, persuaded him to continue and having found himself a new coach, the Welshman has enjoyed a stellar campaign, culminating in claiming the biggest prize in snooker.

Wins in the Northern Ireland Open and German Masters restored the belief in his game and with his consistency returned, Williams worked his way back into the top 16 having failed to qualify for the Crucible 12 months ago.

Williams added: "It's an unbelievable story.

"Twelve months ago I was thinking about chucking it in, and here I am doing an interview having won the 2018 World Championship, naked.

"I thought these days had all passed to be honest."

The Welshman was also keen to pay tribute to Higgins, adding: "I can't believe I beat him really because he's one of the best there's ever been.

"You've got to expect a comeback because when you're 50 or 60 in front, he's the best I've ever seen at clearing up and that includes O'Sullivan.

"What a match to be involved in. I'm so happy I won."

As for Higgins - already a four-time world champion - it was another case of what might have been, having lost to Mark Selby in the final last year, but he was typically gracious in defeat.

He said: "Obviously I'm disappointed but it was great to play in such an occasion in front of this crowd, and Mark is a brilliant champion.

"I didn't want to lose with a session to spare, and at 14-7 that looked possible.

"I tried to put him under pressure tonight but it just wasn't enough."

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