Marco Fu Sinks The Milkman | International Championship Qualifiers

Higgins Aiming To Stay At The Top

John Higgins hopes he can retain his place in the world’s elite tier at least until he reaches the age of 50, but admits his future in the sport beyond that point is uncertain.

Although the 48-year-old is currently ranked ninth in the world, Higgins knows he needs a strong 23/24 campaign to retain his place in the top 16.

Despite an impressive 13-2 defeat of Kyren Wilson, four-time Crucible king Higgins’ World Championship run this year ended with a 13-7 quarter-final loss to Mark Selby.

The Scot was recently lending his support to snooker MC Rob Walker during his Absent Friends Tour from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The pair sat down at a campsite in Biggar, where Higgins reflected on the World Championship and looked ahead to next season and beyond.

“If someone said 10 or 15 years ago that I might not be playing, I would have thought there would be no life without snooker. I’m getting towards the the age of 50 and looking at a couple of different things. Who knows what will be for me in the future, but snooker is still a big part of my life,” said 31-time ranking event winner Higgins.

“I don’t know if there is a finish line. I don’t think you can ever take this sport for granted. I’ve certainly never done that. I’ve always said to myself I’d love to still be a seed and in the top 16 competing at the Masters when I’m 50. Staying in that bracket throughout my whole career would be a good milestone. If I reach that one, then I’ll maybe be looking to see where my life is at that moment. Not my snooker life but my personal one.

“I know I started off well against Kyren, but he had cue problems and I could sense something wasn’t quite right. I beat him with a session to spare, but I knew it would be tough against Mark. He is such a great competitor at that venue as well. I fully expected him to go on and win it but Luca was just incredible. He played a brand of snooker that reminded me of Judd Trump in 2011 when he got to the final. Luca just went that one step further and managed to topple Selby, which was a great achievement.

“There are only a handful of players that can make the game look that easy under intense pressure and Luca is certainly one of them. We’ve always known the talent is there, he has won events. He beat me in the final of the Scottish Open and he played tremendous. That (at the Crucible) was a different level. To do it against someone of Selby’s calibre at the Home of Snooker must give him so much confidence.”