Mark Williams believes he is as good now as he’s ever been as he climbs back towards the number one spot in the world.
The Welshman moved to the No.2 spot in the snooker rankings – behind only Mark Selby – after winning the World Open in China last Sunday where he beat David Gilbert, 10-9 in a thrilling final.
Following on the back of his incredible comeback world title victory earlier this year, the 43-year-old from Cwm has leapfrogged Ronnie O’Sullivan and could regain top spot later this year – 19 years after he first arrived as the leading player on the planet.
Not bad for someone who was contemplating giving up the sport only a couple of years ago after tumbling down the rankings and seemingly falling out of love with the sport.
“It’s a good shout to say my all-round game is as good if not better than it ever has been,” says Williams.
“Perhaps my long potting is not as good as it used to be, but my all-round game is probably better now and the results are showing that at the moment.”
Williams staged a stirring comeback to win the World Open. Gilbert looked set for his maiden ranking title as he led 9-5 but Williams’ never-say-die attitude saw him fight back to take the title.
For Williams, who was crowned world champion for the third time in May – 15 years after his previous success – it was the 22nd ranking title of his career.
It was also a fourth ranking title in under twelve months and brings his tally up to 22, continuing an amazing run of form that will see him rise back up to number two in the world rankings.
“At 9-5 down I was almost out. To win three matches I have looked like losing is unbelievable. I never give up or let my head drop, no matter what the score is. I never let my opponent see that I’m losing heart, and then sometimes it does turn around. Whatever is going on, you have to stick in there.
“I feel for David, he didn’t have that many clear cut chances. I played really well from 9-5 and put him under pressure. I won it more than he lost it.
“When I get home I’ll be straight to the caravan park then I have to decide whether to have a drink to celebrate the World Championship win or a drink to celebrate this one.
“Or, I might just double up and do both.”