Mark Williams: Former world champion considered 'packing in' snooker

By Gareth BlaineyBBC Wales Sport
Mark Williams
Mark Williams won the World Championship in 2000 and 2003

Two-time world snooker champion Mark Williams says he considered retiring recently and bringing his 25-year professional career to an end.

But the 42-year-old from Cwm, near Ebbw Vale, has been reinvigorated by working with specialist coach Steve Feeney.

"I did think for the first time about packing it in - I wasn't enjoying it really, I suppose," Williams said.

"I went away and spoke to my wife about it. I got hold of Steve and... it's been amazing really."

Williams claimed the World Championship trophy in 2000 and 2003 but has not won a ranking title since 2011.

The Welshman failed to qualify for the Crucible last season, although he finished the campaign by reaching the final of the China Open and has returned to the Top 16 for the 2017-18 season.

Williams' improved form saw him reach the semi-final of last weekend's Riga Masters, where he lost to fellow Welshman Ryan Day.

Day went on to win his first ranking title and the two will now team up to represent Wales in the World Cup in Wuxi, China.

Ryan Day
Ryan Day will partner Mark Williams to represent Wales at the World Cup

The tournament runs from 3-9 July, with Chinese teenagers Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao defending the title as the China B team.

Day will be playing in the event for the first time but Williams played alongside Michael White in the last World Cup, also in Wuxi two years ago, and lost in the semi-finals against the eventual champions.

Zhou, 19, and 17-year-old Yan will be the China B team again, but Williams is not concerned about facing them in their group.

"They're a a good side but they beat us 5-4, there was only one frame in it. We've got as good a chance as anybody in the tournament," Williams said.

Day echoed Williams's feelings about Wales's prospects: "We're both in form, so we've obviously got a decent chance. I'm confident we can have a good run."

As well as China B, Wales will face Norway, Finland, Malaysia and Brazil in the group stage.

The top two in each group will go through to the quarter-finals and Day and Williams will start their campaign against Norway.

Sign up to My Sport to follow snooker news and reports on the BBC app.