Higgins trying out a different strategy to regain World crown

Four-time World Champion John Higgins is trying out a "different strategy" to regain the World Championship crown in April this year.

John Higgins

John Higgins, who turned pro at 17, has a career total of 30 titles, including four World Championship crowns.   -  AFP

One of the most successful snooker players of all time, John Higgins was actually into football when he was 10 years old, but felt he wasn't strong enough for the sport.

“I was a midfielder but I think I was too timid. I think I would never have made it in football,” the Scot said in a chat with Sportstar on the sidelines of the Indian Open at the Grand Hyatt here.

He turned to snooker, following his elder brother Jason, at the age of 15 and later moved from his hometown Wishaw to Glasgow to train with stronger players. The move worked wonders.

Higgins, who turned pro at 17, was so good that he won four professional World titles, in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011. He is 43 now but hasn't lost his sheen. He finished runner-up at the last two Worlds, to England’s World No. 1 Mark Selby in 2017 and Welshman Mark Williams last year after dramatic finals.

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After coming painfully close to the title, Higgins is trying a different strategy for this April’s Worlds. “It’s been tough the last few years because I practice at home but in the next couple of days, a few other players like Stephen Maguire, Anthony McGill and I, we are hiring a different place to practice, so that we can play each other and learn together. We have never tried something like this before,” said the World No. 4.

Higgins feels Pankaj Advani, India’s multiple World champion in cuesport and a billiards heavyweight, who never made it big in pro snooker, would have done very well had he moved to the United Kingdom.

“I would have loved him to stay in snooker. I was very impressed with Pankaj and there was one good match many years ago when he beat me. I think he would have made it good in pro snooker,” said Higgins, Indian Open’s biggest star here.