Snooker: Time to wake up admits Higgins

Desire: Aiming to offer a proper defence of his title. Photo: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire.
Desire: Aiming to offer a proper defence of his title. Photo: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire.
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DEFENDING champion John Higgins wants a wake-up call to make sure he sparkles at the Betfred.com World Championship.

Four-time Crucible winner Higgins kicks of his title defence in Sheffield on Saturday having had a season to forget.

But the Wishaw potter has gone to snooker’s biggest tournament before playing badly and pulled it out of the bag. “Sometimes you need a wake-up call” admitted Higgins. “I’ve only got out of this season what I’ve deserved, which is nothing. If you don’t feel as though you’re putting the effort in, and you don’t want to put the effort in, then that’s probably the main reason why I’ve not done well.

“But there’s a desire to be there and to want to give a proper defence of your title. It’s going to be tough, but something I’m really looking forward to.

“I’ve probably not strung a week’s practice together all season – and I’m a big believer that you only get out of your life what you put into it.

“I know what the faults are myself – and I’m the only one who can rectify them.”

And Higgins knows only too well that the famous Crucible Theatre is the most unforgiving venue if he’s not firing on full cylinders, as he’s found in the past having been dumped out at the first hurdle.

“Sometimes you can go to the Crucible and handle it ok, but sometimes you can go there when your confidence is low and you can’t handle it,” admitted Higgins.

“The Crucible can sometimes be the worst place to play your snooker.

n First round draw: John Higgins v Liang Wenbo, Stuart Bingham v Stephen Hendry, Stephen Maguire v Luca Brecel, Graeme Dott v Joe Perry, Shaun Murphy v Jamie Jones, Stephen Lee v Andrew Higginson, Ali Carter v Mark Davis.

Judd Trump v Dominic Dale, Mark Williams v Liu Chuang, Ronnie O’Sullivan v Peter Ebdon, Martin Gould v David Gilbert, Neil Robertson v Ken Doherty, Ding Junhui v Ryan Day, Mark Allen v Cao Yupeng, Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu, Mark Selby v Barry Hawkins.