When John Higgins won his first world title in 1998, I assumed he would go on to win four or five.
As it transpires he still might, but this looked unlikely at the mid point of the decade when it appeared as if Higgins had gone off the boil.
He began the 2000s as world no.1 and indeed won its first ranking title, the Welsh Open.
He picked up a second UK title in 2000 and the following year won the first three tournaments of the 2001/02 season.
During the last of these he became a father for the first time. There’s no doubt this had a bearing on his career. Higgins is from a close family and he found himself enjoying home life more than the relentless hours in the club.
He thus went three years between ranking titles before his success in the 2004 British Open and dropped to sixth in the rankings, too low for a player of his ability.
Things changed, though, as the decade wore on. For a variety of reasons he rediscovered his competitive spirit.
In 2005, he compiled four successive centuries and amassed 494 points without reply in destroying Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-2 to win the Grand Prix.
He made a tremendous under pressure 64 clearance to pip O’Sullivan to the 2006 Masters title.
But he had been putting himself under it too much to win the world title again.
His fortunes seemed to turn round after Mark Williams beat him 17-15 from 14-10 down in their 2000 semi-final, a defeat Higgins attributes in large degree to Williams forgetting to shake his hand before their final session.
For five successive years Higgins failed to get past the quarter-finals at Sheffield but in 2007, despite not being in prime form ahead of the 17 day marathon, he went all the way to the title.
Then last season he won a third and demonstrated, in particular against Jamie Cope and Mark Selby, his ability to produce his best snooker while under pressure.
Virtually every professional regards Higgins as the best all round player in the game but also look up to him as a person.
He exudes a friendly, down to earth air despite his success. His fellow players like him and they respect him.
This means he is influential in off table matters, which he has taken a leading role in through the formation of the World Series and the new Snooker Players Association.
Having started the decade as a staunch WPBSA supporter, Higgins ends it as one of the most vocal critics of the governing body.
But it is as a player that he remains prominent. He will most likely end the decade as provisional world no.1 having started it as official no.1.
Despite a few slip ups during the last ten years, this is proof of Higgins’s undoubted class.