Mark Williams ready for World Championship test

WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP

Venue:
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Date:
Saturday 16 April - Monday 2 May
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC One HD, the Red Button and BBC Sport website with reports and updates on BBC Radio 5 live

Welsh snooker star Mark Williams says he is relaxed and in fine form as he prepares for the World Championship, which starts in Sheffield on Saturday.

Two-time world champion Williams, 36, will play fellow Welshman Ryan Day in the first round on day one at the Crucible Theatre.

Ebbw Vale-born Williams, currently ranked number two in the world, said: "I'm looking forward to it.

"I'm playing with a little bit of confidence and getting ready for it."

Williams took the world title in 2000 and 2003 before suffering a dip in form that saw him plummet down the rankings.

But the man nicknamed 'The Welsh Potting Machine' has rallied in recent years and goes into the showpiece Sheffield event ranked one place behind world number one, John Higgins.

"I'm feeling all right," said Williams, who beat world number three Mark Selby in the final of the 2011 German Masters in February.

"I've got a tough draw with Ryan [Day] in the first game but it's obviously tough for him as well.

"I've no strategy for any tournament, I just go there and play."

Williams and Day will be joined by three other Welsh players in the first round of the famous old tournament, which was first played in 1927.

Matthew Stevens, Dominic Dale and Andrew Pagett will also be hoping to reach the final, where a win will see the champion pick up a £250,000 prize fund.

"Hopefully one of us can go on and if not win it, get to the latter stages of the competition and keep the Welsh hopes alive," added Williams.

"It's the World Championships and everyone dreams of getting there."

But the experienced left-hander admits finding a way past tournament favourite Higgins will be tough.

"He's [Higgins] winning every competition he plays in at the minute and is very hard to beat.

"He's world number one and there's probably about five of us fighting for that spot who could possibly get there and I'm lucky enough to be in the mix.

"It's going to be a good tournament. It's very open, you can't pick a winner."

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