Player Profile

Mark Williams

NameDate of Birth Country
Mark Williams21-03-1975United Kingdom

 Name                                   :                               Mark Williams

Highest Ranking                   :                               1

Current Ranking                  :                               22 (After 2017 Players Championship)

Highest Break                      :                               147 (2 times)

Century Breaks                   :                               379

Mark James Williams, MBE (born 21 March 1975) is a Welsh professional snooker player who has been World Champion twice, in 2000 and 2003. Often noted for his single-ball potting, he has earned the nickname "The Welsh Potting Machine". He has been ranked the world number 1 for a total of three seasons in his career.

The first left-handed player to win the World Championship, Williams has won 18 ranking tournaments (fifth on the all-time list), including the UK Championship twice, in 1999 and 2002. He has also won the Masters on two occasions, in 1998 and 2003. Williams' most successful season in his career to date was the 2002/2003 season, when he won the acclaimed treble of tournaments (known as the Triple Crown): the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Championship. He is the third player after Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry to win all three Triple Crown events in one season. Following his second World Championship his form declined, and he dropped out of the top 16 following the 2007/2008 season, but regained his place for 2009/2010. As a prolific break-builder, Williams has compiled more than 350 century breaks during his career.

Williams was born in Cwm, Ebbw Vale, and started playing snooker at an early age. He scored his first century when he was 13. He won his first junior event when he was 11 and it was then that he realised that he wanted to pursue a career as a snooker player. He was encouraged to play by his father Dilwyn, who was a miner. When he was 15 he did a 12-hour shift down the mines. Williams was also a promising Amateur boxer, being undefeated in 12 fights as a schoolboy, but he decided to pursue his snooker career instead. He turned professional in 1992 and finished his first season ranked 119th, and within three seasons was ranked in the Worlds top 16, breaking into the 16 for the1996/1997 season. Williams` first ranking tournament win came in January 1996, when he claimed the Welsh Open title, beating John Parrott 9–3 in the final. After failing to qualify for the 1996 World Championship, he won the first ranking event of the new season – the Grand Prix – in October 1996, beating surprise finalist Euan Henderson 9–5 in the final. In April 1997, he also won the British Open, beating Stephen Hendry 9–2 in the final. He also beat Hendry in the final to win his first Masters title in February 1998, winning on the final black 10–9 after recovering from 6–9 down, in a thrilling final. At the 1997 World Championship, he was drawn against Terry Griffiths, the latter's last appearance at the Crucible as a player; he eventually beat his coach 10–9 on the black, but lost 8–13 to Hendry in the last 16. In the 1998 World Championship, he reached the semi-finals, losing 14–17 to Ken Doherty. He was runner-up next year to Hendry.

The 1999/2000 season was a very successful one for Williams, winning both the UK Championship and the World Championship. These results, along with another ranking title and three runner-up positions, allowed him to capture the world number 1 position for the first time. In the World Championship final he came from 7–13 behind his fellow countryman, Matthew Stevens to eventually win 18–16. He also produced a notable comeback in his semi-final match against John Higgins, coming from 10–14 down to win 17–15. Williams won only one ranking event in the following season, the Grand Prix, with a 9–5 victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final, but he was a runner-up in two other ranking events, the UK Championship and the China Open. This was enough to retain his number 1 ranking, although his title defence at the World Championship fell in the second round with a 12–13 defeat to Joe Swail.

In the 2001/2002 season Williams also only won one ranking tournament, as he struggled to find the form from the previous season, winning the China Open, where he defeatedAnthony Hamilton 9–8 from 5–8 down in the final. However, he lost to the same player 9–13 in the second round of the World Championship and the number 1 ranking to Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Another strong performance came in 2002/2003 season when he won the UK Championship, Masters and World Championship titles. This made him only the fourth player after Hendry, Davis and John Higgins to hold these titles simultaneously, and only the third player after Davis and Hendry to have won them all in one season. These results enabled him to reclaim the number 1 spot at the end of the season. In the UK Championship final he beat Ken Doherty 10–9, and in the Masters he beat Hendry 10–4, Before the 2003 World Championship he had a scare with his cue when it was damaged and badly bent on his flight with Ryanair to play in the Irish Masters, but he had it repaired before the tournament.

On his way to winning the 2003 World title, he had a relatively untroubled route to the final with wins over Stuart Pettman 10–2, Quinten Hann 13–2, Hendry 13–7 and Stephen Lee17–8 before facing Doherty in the final. He led 10–2, and looked to be heading for an easy victory, before Doherty fought back to 16–16. Williams regained his composure under intense pressure to win the last two frames and lift the trophy for the second time.

The following season, he lost in the first round of the UK Championship to Fergal O'Brien, a match which ended his record run of 48 tournaments in which he had won his first match, His defence at the 2004 World Championship started with a 10–7 win over Dominic Dale, but he lost 11–13 in the second round to Joe Perry, and saw him endure a run of poor form over the 2004/2005 season where he slid to 9th in the world rankings for 2005/2006.

In July 2013 he won the Rotterdam Open defeating Mark Selby 4–3 in the final. This as Williams' second title in a Players Tour Championship event. However, he had a poor season in the ranking events as he failed to reach a single quarter-final for the first time since the 2006/2007 season. He did earn an encouraging 4–3 win over world number one Neil Robertson at the Welsh Open, saying afterwards that he was glad he had ignored his friend Stephen Hendry's advice to retire and believed he still had ranking event titles left in him. He had chances to move 3–0 ahead in the last 16 against Marco Fu, but lost 4–2 stating that the Williams who won two world titles over 10 years ago was "dead". In the qualifying rounds for the World Championship, Williams lost 10–8 to Alan McManus, meaning he was absent from the tournament for the first time since 1996. Williams finished the campaign as the world number 18, the first time he has ended the season outside of the top 16 in six years.

Williams lost in the second round of his first two ranking events of the 2014/2015 season. His first quarter-final of the campaign was at the International Championship and he trailed Ronnie O'Sullivan 3–0, before Williams won five successive frames with a high break of 120. The match would go into a deciding frame which Williams won to beat the five-time world champion for the first time in 12 years. His semi-final match against Mark Allen also went all the way, after Williams had been 7–4 down, and a miss on the final red proved crucial as he was defeated 9–8. He was beaten 6–2 by Stephen Maguire in the third round of the UK Championship.

After knocking out Judd Trump 4–1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open, Williams said that he no longer looks at winning tournaments and is currently more concerned with improving his ranking. He then made two centuries in defeating Marco Fu 5–1 to play in the semi-finals of the event for the first time since 2003. Williams took advantage of Ben Woollaston missing chances to send their match into a deciding frame after he had been 5–3 behind, but lost it to just fall short of reaching the final in his home tournament. Williams won through to the final of the minor-ranking Gdynia Open, but was whitewashed 4–0 by Neil Robertson. Despite only being 39 years old, Williams took part in the World Seniors Championship as he would turn 40 before the end of the season and he won the title by beating Fergal O'Brien 2–1. Another ranking event semi-final followed at the Indian Open, where he lost 4–2 to Michael White.

After defeating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first round of the Players Championship Grand Final, Williams produced back-to-back comebacks from 3–1 down to knock out bothMark Selby and Matthew Selt 4–3. He then reached his first major ranking event final in over three years with a 4–2 win over Judd Trump and raced into a 3–0 lead against Joe Perry. However, his highest break in the next four frames was 14 as Perry fought back to triumph 4–3. In a rematch of the 2000 final, Williams played Matthew Stevens in the first round of the World Championship and was thrashed 10–2.

 

Williams lost 5–1 to Judd Trump in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters. He reached the final of the non-ranking General Cup, where he was defeated 7–3 by Marco Fu. He drew Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round of the Masters and was 4–2 ahead. However, the match went to a deciding frame in which Williams missed a risky plant and lost 6–5. He lost in the fourth round of the Welsh Open 4–2 to Mark Selby and in the first round of three other ranking events and in qualifying for the China Open. Williams saw off Graeme Dott 10–4 and Michael Holt 13–8 to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championship for the first time in five years. However, he was then thrashed 13–3 by Ding Junhui with a session to spare.

Playing style

Williams is believed by some snooker pundits to be one of the greatest long potters in the game.[95]He has compiled over 350 competitive centuries during his career, 10th on the all-time list of century makers, despite a tendency to play exhibition shots when a frame is won. He is also well known for his ability to win scrappy frames with his tactical play and picking out shots to nothing.

An unorthodox aspect of his style is a tendency to play his cue directly underneath his body instead of using the rest, which he often does when a frame is won. He is partiallycolour blind and has difficulty distinguishing between the red and brown balls, once even potting a brown ball believing it to be a red ball.

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