John Higgins is eager to win the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in April with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump among his main rivals for the title.
John Higgins has sights set on winning April’s World Snooker Championship as he looks to deny Ronnie O’Sullivan the chance to match Stephen Hendry’s modern era tally of seven triumphs, with world No 1 Judd Trump also looking to build on his sole 2019 victory.
The Worlds are snooker’s biggest prize with O’Sullivan a six-time Crucible champion after getting the better of Kyren Wilson 18-8 to net the £500,000 winnings last year.
The 45-year-old, a record 37-time ranking title winner, is plotting to claim back-to-back triumphs at the tournament for the second time in his career after 2012 and 2013.
O’Sullivan has only ever lost one final at the Worlds having been bettered by Mark Selby in 2014 though still finds himself behind the great Hendry.
Top-ranked Trump, meanwhile, is looking to build on his 2019 victory over Higgins in the Triple Crown tournament having been challenged by O’Sullivan in January to go on and win 60 to 70 ranking titles given his quality and his age, at just 31.
The 45-year-old Scot became the oldest ranking title winner since Doug Mountjoy in 1989 by beating O’Sullivan in the Players Championship final in Milton Keynes on Sunday.
Higgins was imperious throughout the entire week and dropped just four frames across his four matches, three of which came in his 10-3 victory of long-time rival O’Sullivan on the final day.
Now, the 31-time ranking title winner is plotting a fifth success at snooker’s most prestigious tournament next month – and has warned O’Sullivan, Trump and co. that he’s feeling more confident than he has in the last few years despite his recent finals appearances.
“This is the best week so far in my career, but to win the Worlds for a fifth time, that would obviously top it,” Higgins declared.
“It’s going to be really difficult but listen, I’m going there now in a better frame of mind than I’ve done in previous years, so that’s a good thing.
“I think it must have [sent a message]. I was maybe a player in the last couple of years that the top boys would come against thinking, ‘well if he plays well he’s got a chance but if he doesn’t play well I can knock him over pretty easy.’
“So this must let everybody know that I’m still a contender.”
Higgins added of his Players Championship triumph: “The way I felt all week, the way I was in control, I’m thinking I can go on and win more now. It’s a funny feeling.
“I’ve got that monkey off my back of the last three years so now I can try and push on and add more titles if I’m feeling like this.
“Throughout my career there’s been peaks and troughs but right now there’s no better feeling than sitting here.
“It’s just a shame your family and your friends are not here and the crowd’s not in. That’s the only downside.”
O’Sullivan has lost four straight finals for the first time in his career having been beaten by Jordan Brown at the Welsh Open a week earlier.