IF Mark Williams is feeling the pressure of going for a third Welsh Open title on home soil at Celtic Manor, he certainly isn’t showing it.
The world No.14 is adopting a carefree approach to his pursuit of a trophy he last won in 1999 and admits whether he wins or loses has become ‘irrelevant’.
The mindset has served him well to date at the resort of which he holds membership, with Wednesday’s second-round win over Liam Highfield containing some extravagant long-range pots.
“I’m going for shots that are just ridiculous,” he said. “I’m laughing to myself at some of the shots I’m going for.
“I don’t care if I miss or leave them on the hole, I’m just trying to enjoy it and play as fast as I can.
“Win or lose, it’s irrelevant. I’m too old now to start worrying about it.”
💬 "I'm playing without a care in the world."
💬 "I'm going for shots that are ridiculous."
💬 "I'm laughing to myself for some of the shots I'm going for."@markwil147, as honest as ever 😆 pic.twitter.com/psYOhbJj0t
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) February 17, 2021
Williams’ relaxed routine is aided by his short trips into Celtic Manor from home, in contrast to being based in the bubble at Milton Keynes – as has become snooker’s new normal.
The three-time world champion’s local base has also allowed him the opportunity to practice his darts but he admits he’s got some way to go before he fancies a rematch with Welsh world champion Gerwyn Price.
“The more I play at darts, the worse I get,” he said. “I can’t even beat the kids
“I played snooker with Gerwyn and he’s very good. There’s more chance of him beating me at snooker than me beating him at darts!
“Whatever happens, I’ll go home, play a few hours of darts and Chinese pool with the kids. It makes no difference whether I win or lose.”
The 45-year-old takes on world No.19 Joe Perry in this morning’s third round.