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September 28, 2020

Snooker: Higgins nervous before world championship defence

World champion John Higgins admits to a sense of nerves ahead of his title defence at the Crucible. The Scot opens the tournament in Sheffield against Englishman Barry Hawkins on Saturday. “I’ve done it twice before, gone down and defended the title,” Higgins told BBC Scotland. “The Saturday morning as your kicking off the championship is probably the most nerve-wracking match you could actually play in.”

Higgins is one of five Scots entering the event and he and some of his countrymen have prepared by playing against each other.

“All of the Scottish professionals have been playing in the last few days; myself, Stephen Maguire, Marcus Campbell and Graeme Dott,” he said.

“We’re trying to replicate the tournament, playing best of 19 and maybe playing for a few pounds to try and get us in the right mood.

“I can’t say how much because the wives may be watching or the girlfriends, so I’ll just say a few pounds. Barry Hearn can sell sand to the Sahara that’s what we’re hoping he can do and try and make snooker a big sport again

“We’ve managed to avoid each other in the first round and it’d be great to get us all into the second round. “You can never discount Stephen Hendry – seven times champion, myself, Graeme Dott, who has won it before, and you’ve got Stephen Maguire, who is probably just waiting to win. Marcus Campbell’s got a tough draw against Mark Williams.”

The manager of Hendry and three-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, Lee Doyle, has quit the snooker’s governing body over proposals to give Barry Hearn a 51% stake in World Snooker.

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