You won't meet many nicer snooker players than John Higgins, who begins the defence of his Royal London Watches Grand Prix title in Aberdeen on Saturday.

Despite being one of the most successful players in snooker history, he remains modest about his achievements and is sensibly always looking to the future, rather than resting on his laurels.

I spoke to him today and this is what he said:

“The first match I ever saw live was Jimmy White v Alex Higgins in the 1985 Scottish Masters. The atmosphere was amazing. The place was completely packed. Jimmy thrashed Alex 5-0 in about 40 minutes and then they came out to do four exhibition frames because it was over so quick.

“I was in awe of them. It’s funny, because I’ve never seen myself as being like them, but I’ve been doing quite a few exhibitions recently and have realised how well thought of snooker players are.

“Lots of people come up to get autographs and you realise that you are a role model to a lot of the kids.

“I have two boys of my own so it’s nice to know that there are young kids looking up to me.

“I don’t think of myself as a big star or spend much time going back over tournaments I’ve won.

“You’re too much in the bubble of going to tournaments and playing matches and there isn’t much time to reflect.

“I guess I have done in quieter moments on my own, but I’ve always been the type of player who is looking to the next tournament, even if I’ve won the last one.

“I’ve got all my trophies at home but they’re not on show. They’re on a lounge room that we very rarely go in, maybe only if we’ve got people staying over.

“Some players win one tournament and it goes to their head a bit. Then, they don’t win another one. I’m not really like that.”


Anonymous said...


Maybe its because it has always been the first World Ranking of the season, but didn't Higgins leave the Grand Prix after winning his quarter-final match about five seasons ago, to attend his brother's wedding. Or was that the UK Championship?

I'll always remember the scene of him jumping in his father's car, with cue and bow-tie still on, and driving away. (Is he still being managed by his father?)

Do you think there is a lot of expectation on him this year, being defending champion and the tournament featuring in Scotland?

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

That was the 2000 Grand Prix. John had been assured months in advance that there wouldn't be a tournament on that day. His brother duly booked his wedding and - of course - the tournamen was put on.

I don't think being the defending champion will put pressure on him. I think the format will, though. It favours the lower ranked players because short matches increase their chances of beating the top guys.

That said, I'd still back one of the top players to win the title.

John is being managed by an outfit called FTSC Management as of two days ago!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was the GP. Because it was a short match (best of 9 frames) that he won. I think he beat an Irishman before making his dash for the exit....

Well, we haven't had a long-shot win the title since Dominic Dale and Chris Small, and I personally would like to see a outsider win it. As with so few tournaments some will only have a few events to do well in, whilst others will have the maximum of opportunity's over the season.

The new management isn't set-up by his father is it? If not, has it got any other players on its books?

Thanks, Joe