Williams Sets Sights On Sheffield
Mark Williams is full of confidence going into next week’s ManBetX Welsh Open, and believes he will have a chance of winning a third World title in the Spring.
Welsh ace Williams is playing his best snooker for 15 years, having won three tournaments so far this season including two ranking events. His victories at the Northern Ireland Open in November and the German Masters in February have taken his career tally of ranking titles to 20.
The 42-year-old from Cwm heads to Cardiff next week for the ManBetX Welsh Open and faces Mark King in his opening match at the Motorpoint Arena on Tuesday afternoon. Williams was the last Welsh player to win the tournament, back in 1999. This time there is a 15-strong contingent of Welshmen among the 129 players in the field, hoping to end that barren streak (click here for the match schedule).
But Williams also has one eye on the World Championship which starts in April, where he’ll be challenging for a third title having conquered the Crucible in 2000 and 2003.
“I’m going into the World Championship this year with more confidence than I have had in the last ten years,” said Williams. “I could still go out in the first round, that is just the nature of the game. But I’m feeling much better about the way I’m playing than I have for a long time.”
Williams attributes part of his resurgence to practising with European under-18 champion Jackson Page and 24-year-old professional Duane Jones, both of whom he has assumed a mentoring role for.
Page captured the headlines at last year’s Welsh Open, battling to reach the last 32 at the age of just 15. He recorded two wins before eventually bowing out against eight-time ranking event winner Judd Trump.
“The two lads are a nightmare!” joked Williams. “I get in the club at 9am and they are already there. We play best of threes and if it is 1-1 we do a re-spotted black, then winner stays on. I’ll be there until 5pm and I’ll have to go because I’ll be shattered. They then stay and do another best of eleven. When you practise with these boys it makes the day go a lot faster.”
The ManBetX Welsh Open runs from February 26 to March 4 with a field packed with top stars including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and defending champion Stuart Bingham.
Tickets for the tournament are still available and start at just £10, fantastic value to see the world’s top stars. And with all 129 players in action over the first two days (Monday February 26 and Tuesday February 27), fans can see a multitude of matches in a single session. For details call 029 2022 44 88 or CLICK HERE