Mark Williams strips NAKED after winning World Snooker Championships in Sheffield

Mark Williams stayed true to his word by stripping NAKED in his press conference after winning the World Championship title at the Crucible.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 7:21 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 7:26 am
Mark Williams during his post match interview - Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Williams withstood an incredible fightback from John Higgins to land his third Betfred World Championship title and stripped off in celebration.

The Welshman became the oldest winner at the Crucible for 40 years and came good on his promise to hold his press conference naked if he won - although he wore a towel to protect his modesty.

Mark Williams during his post match interview - Richard Sellers/PA Wire

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Williams was roared into the media room and said: "Cold in here, isn't it!"

Asked how his success felt, Williams said: "It feels a little bit uncomfortable at the minute. I had to wear the towel on the orders of Barry Hearn otherwise I would just have walked in, just crying.

"It's an unbelievable story. Twelve months ago I was thinking about chucking it, and here I am doing an interview having won the 2018 World Championship, naked.

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

"I'm going to party the night away. Last time I won it I think I had half a pint of milk and went to bed. I'm not going to bed this time - it'll be daylight before I get to bed."

Hearn, chairman of World Snooker, stood at the back of the room beaming. What an advert for the sport.

"What a match to be involved in," Williams said.

"I'm so happy I won. I can't believe I beat him really because he's one of the best there's ever been."

Higgins had roared back from 14-7 behind to level at 15-15, feasting on mistakes from his opponent, putting the Scot seemingly on the march to glory and Williams in turmoil.

Back came Williams, and a century break to go one frame away from victory suggested his nerves had settled.

But at the moment when he first stood on the very brink of victory, Williams twitched, missing a pink that was match ball. Higgins had not expected another chance but came back to the table and cleared up with a 65 break, vintage snooker from the four-time champion.

Williams needed another chance and gave himself one early in the next frame. This time Williams made no mistake, a break of 69 leaving Higgins needing three snookers. Higgins was beaten 18-16, but he had played his part in one of the greatest Crucible finals.

The champion's young sons Kian, Connor and Joel were on hand to witness their father's stunning win - having not been born when he previously triumphed in 2000 and 2003. Wife Jo was seriously ill at one stage earlier in the season but she too watched on in Sheffield.

"I was just practising for them the last time I won this tournament," Williams said of his sons.

"I'm sure they've enjoyed it. My missus couldn't stop crying for ages, I got a little bit emotional towards the end as well. And deservedly so really, it's a big occasion for me. I thought these days had all passed to be honest."

Williams, previously triumphant in 2000 and 2003, lost in the final round of qualifying last year.

He spent the time he would have been in Sheffield "away in my caravan, getting drunk and watching it on TV", missing the tournament's 40th anniversary celebrations.

He will return as defending champion next year.

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.

"I didn't want to lose with a session to spare, and at 14-7 that looked possible.

"I tried to put him under pressure tonight but it just wasn't enough."