Mark Williams claims he doesn’t “deserve to do well” at the Welsh Open in Llandudno this week – because he hasn’t been putting in enough time on the practice table.
That means he has booked himself a last 64 spot, where he will take on Sanderson Lam.
However, the home favourite only registered one score of 50+ in his opening match, and says he did not hit peak form because he has been enjoying himself away from snooker.
“It’s going to be difficult,” he admits. “I’m going to struggle, I know that, because I haven’t touched my cue.
“I’ve only just come back from a golfing trip with the boys. I enjoyed it and if I’m honest, I wish I was still out there.
“I don’t deserve to do well in this to be honest. You’ve got to pick your cue up and practice and give 100%. I’ll try my best, but if someone players half decent, they’re going to beat me.
“I haven’t been practicing a lot for a while. I’ve been playing an hour or two a day, maybe. You’ve just got to try your best. You know you’re going to struggle, like I did there.”
Williams was twice forced to come from behind against Astley, as he trailed 1-0 and 2-1, before reeling off three frames in a row to claim victory.
However, it could easily have been a different story, had his opponent not missed a red along the top cushion when well placed in the fifth frame.
The Welshman did praise his temperament though, admitting it would have been easy to throw the towel in after his early struggles.
“If he didn’t miss a few easy balls, he would have beat me,” the three-time world champion added.
“I could easily have given up there, because I was struggling a bit. But you’ve just to keep going, haven’t you, and you never know, I might play well in the next match.
“I did win the British Open doing the same thing.”
O’Sullivan – Higgins could add “two or three years” to career
With neither Ronnie O’Sullivan or Judd Trump competing in Llandudno, John Higgins is the favourite to lift the title.
The Wizard of Wishaw has not won a trophy since the Players Championship in 2021, but will attempt to end that drought in Wales, where he takes on Mohamed Ibrahim in the first round.
O’Sullivan has sought similar assistance himself in the past, and believes visiting the psychologist could extend Higgins’ career.
“If for only the reason just to kind of give himself a bit of motivation,” he explained.
“At some point, you’ve just got to keep finding ways just to stay interested in the sport. Otherwise, it can get a bit boring, a bit mundane.
“For John, it’s something new, and hopefully that’ll give him two or three years, just to keep him interested.”