Mark Williams stripped off after his epic win over John Higgins
09 May, 2018, 00:58
Mark Williams vowed to perform naked cartwheels if he repeats his stunning BetfredWorld Championship triumph next year - after stripping off in celebration of his victory on Monday night. I had to wear the towel on the orders of Barry Hearn otherwise I would just have walked in, just crying.
Entering the press room with a towel tied around his waist, Williams made his way through a rapturous and slightly red-faced crowd to seat himself in front of microphones, before removing his towel completely.
Welshman Ray Reardon won his sixth world title in 1978 at the age of 45 to become the oldest victor of the event.
He missed a pink to seal the title in the next, as Higgins pinched the frame with a run of 65 but Williams quickly put that out of his head and produced arguably the most important break of his career - a 69 - to seal an 18-16 win and a third world title, 15 years after his last.
It marked a remarkable reversal of fortune for Williams, whose other triumph came in 2000, as he considered retirement after failing to qualify for last year's tournament. He insists he contemplated retirement last summer, having not won a ranking title for six years. "I was seriously thinking of giving up, but my wife Joanne said I can't sleep in the house 24 hours a day". I watched it in a caravan having some beers.
Moments before, the Welshman had said of his win: "It's unbelievable".
And Williams stuck to his word in his press conference as the new three-time world champion faced the media naked.
But defeat was a huge blow for Higgins, 42, who lost in the final for the second year in a row after blowing a 10-4 lead against Mark Selby 12 months ago.
Williams last World Championship came 15 years ago and he was clearly delighted to once again take home snooker's top prize and a record £425,000 in prize money.
Williams led 10-7 going into today's final two sessions and swiftly extended his advantage by winning four consecutive frames as he demonstrated his potting prowess. I just did something I thought I would never ever do.
Showing nerves of steel Higgins nicked the frame with a break of 82. I got a little bit emotional towards the end as well.
"I tried to put him under pressure tonight but it just wasn't enough".
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