One of the most welcome things to happen last season was the return to form of Mark Williams.
Having returned to the elite top 16 in 2009 he is now back in the top eight and has already won the campaign’s first PTC title.
Only a stellar Ronnie O’Sullivan performance could deny him a place in last season’s Wembley Masters final and it was another superb O’Sullivan display that cost him a place in the Crucible quarter-finals.
In between Williams reminded everyone just how good he can be by winning the China Open, his first ranking title since 2006.
The key to Mark’s success has always been his laid back attitude. He gives the impression that nothing much bothers him most of the time.
In his period in the doldrums he had various off table pressures that meant he was no longer happy-go-lucky.
There was also, perhaps subconsciously, the notion that after completing the grand slam of all four BBC tournaments and occupying the world no.1 position in 2003 he no longer had anything to achieve.
Williams won’t have enjoyed having to qualify during the 2008/09 season but in the long run it has done him good.
He also now has his own snooker club and seems to be back in the groove generally.
Time is against him. At 35 he is now considered to be on the back nine of his career but, as he proved last season, he is still capable of deadly performances.
His strength was always his single ball potting, forcing his way into frames. He can scrap it out and his temperament is rock solid. It makes for a highly effective game when it all comes together.
I spoke to Mark briefly at PTC 2 and he seems to be as enthusiastic as ever about his snooker. He was a big supporter of Barry Hearn prior to the EGM and is relishing the increased playing opportunities that are ahead of the players, not just this season but in the years to come.
Williams, at his best, was the sort of player you would pick to play a frame if your life depended on it.
Regardless of the problems he’s had in recent times, he is getting back to that sort of level and there’s no obvious reason why more silverware shouldn’t be heading his way this season.
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