Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

Mark Williams fulfills naked ambition to claim world title

Mark Williams fulfills naked ambition to claim world title

He joked that he would turn up for the press conference naked if he won this year's World Championship, and true to his word, he strode into the media room wearing just a towel, which he removed when shielded by a table.

'Last time I won I had a glass of milk and went to bed but I'm going to party the night away this time'.

The 18-16 success made him the oldest victor of the tournament since 45-year-old Ray Reardon in 1978 and Williams fulfilled a promise to hold his press conference naked - although he wore a towel to protect his modesty.

The 43-year-old is the oldest victor since Ray Reardon took the crown in 1978 at the age of 45.

It was a tense encounter that included a monumental seven frame comeback from his opponent John Higgins, before Williams eventually came out on top 18-16 at Sheffield's Crucible.

"Previous year I was seriously thinking of giving up" Williams told the BBC.

"If I won this again next year, I'd do this again - I'd cartwheel round here naked", he added.

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

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"I made a really good break under pressure and my game is now in pretty good shape now".

The Welshman beat John Higgins 18-16 in an unbelievable final at The Crucible.

Another trademark clearance from Higgins, 82 from 47-0 down, got him within two frames.

It capped a remarkable late-career revival as he did not even qualify for the championships in 2017, and last reached the final 15 years ago, when he defeated Ken Doherty. The Welshman, however, held his nerve in the next frame, a break of 69 taking him over the line.

Note that Williams led to the confrontation with Higgins for much of the match.

Higgins steamrollered the next 91-0 to leave the final tantalisingly poised at 15-14 as the players took a 10 minute time out.

'I knew at the end if I didn't get enough he was going to clear up again. It looked as though Williams had wilted and many snooker fans thought it may be because of his vow to show up to the post-final press conference stark naked if he won.

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