Mark Williams strips naked for press conference after winning thrilling World Snooker Championship final

Lawrence Ostlere
The Independent

Before this World Snooker Championship Mark Williams made a promise to conduct his press conference naked should he win the tournament, and he proved a man of his word on Monday night when he strode into the media centre wearing only a towel and a sheepish grin following his epic 18-16 victory over John Higgins at the Crucible.

Asked immediately after winning the contest, which proved to be one of the best finals ever seen in Sheffield, Williams said he would go through with the stunt so long as world snooker chairman Barry Hearn promised not to hit him with a fine.

“It’s cold in here, init?” quipped the Welshman as slipped out of his towel and behind the safety of a cloth-covered table in front of the world’s media. “It feels a little bit uncomfortable at the minute. I had to wear the towel on the orders of Barry Hearn otherwise I would just have walked in, just crying.

“It’s an unbelievable story. Twelve months ago I was thinking about chucking it, and here I am doing an interview having won the 2018 World Championship, naked.

“If I won this again next year, I’d do this again – I’d cartwheel round here naked.

“I’m going to party the night away. Last time I won it I think I had half a pint of milk and went to bed. I’m not going to bed this time – it’ll be daylight before I get to bed.”

Mark Williams enters the media centre (Rex)
Mark Williams enters the media centre (Rex)

Once the laughs died down he admitted that he was “over the moon” to have become a three-time world champion, especially after such a gruelling contest.

“To play John in a final is an experience in itself,” Williams said. “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 Ronnie O’Sullivan. I was thinking, ‘I’m not going to get over the line here.’ I knew if I didn’t get enough he was going to clear up again, but I’m over the moon.

“Last year I was seriously thinking of giving up, but my game is in pretty good shape now.”

Higgins has now lost two finals in succession having fallen to Mark Selby last year, and remains on a total of four world titles. ”I was 14-7 behind and I was worried if I wouldn’t take it to the fourth session,” Higgins said. “I didn’t want to lose with a session to spare.

“It was unbelievable to play in front of this crowd. The last frame was just a joke there for him to play that well under that pressure. He’s a great champion.”

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