World Snooker Championship: Mark Williams to play less next season

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Mark Williams won his first World Championship against Matthew Stevens in 2000 winning 18-16
Mark Williams won his first World Championship against Matthew Stevens in 2000 winning 18-16
World Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 18 April-4 May
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Mark Williams says he will cut down on the number of tournaments he plays next season even if it means missing out on a World Championship return.

Williams, 40, failed to qualify for the Crucible in 2014 after dropping out of the world's top 16.

He worked tirelessly to secure his place this time around before losing 10-2 against fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens in the first round.

"I tried hard to get back and I did," said the world number 14.

"I am not going to try that hard to get here again next year."

Williams, from Cwm near Ebbw Vale, is a two-time world champion and told BBC Sport before the event that he was proud to have fought his way back to play at snooker's showpiece tournament.

But he explained: "I am not going to play in every tournament like I had to get here this year.

"If that sacrifices the chances of getting back here next year then I will probably sacrifice it."

He joked about a "walk of shame" as he made his way through the media room for his news conference following his heavy defeat, but insisted being back at the Crucible was still an experience he relished.

"I did enjoy it even though the scoreline wasn't very good because you never know when you will come here again," he said.

But he warned that his good friend and world number 35 Stevens would need to play a lot better in his second-round meeting on Saturday with five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.

"He's more than capable of beating him. He will have to play a lot better than that, but he's got more chance than me," joked Williams.