Tuesday, May 21, 2024

World Snooker: John Higgins not retiring but fears for Crucible

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Four-time world snooker champion John Higgins has ruled out retiring this summer, saying he expects to outlast the Crucible and play into his 50s.

Higgins, 48, will play world number three Mark Allen in the last 16 after a hard-fought 10-6 win over Welsh qualifier Jamie Jones on Thursday.

The Crucible has staged snooker’s World Championship every year since 1977, but Sheffield City Council’s latest contract expires in 2027 and China and Saudi Arabia have shown interest in taking the event.

Earlier this week, former World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn warned the event would leave its long-time theatre home unless the building was redeveloped or a bigger arena was built nearby in the city.

There had been speculation that Higgins, 13th in the world but in danger of dropping out of the top 16, would walk away from snooker if he had a disappointing World Championship.

“No, I won’t retire. This venue will be retired before I retire from snooker,” said Higgins, the 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011 world champion.

“It’s a shame, but with all the noises coming out from important people within the game it seems it will be leaving here in three years’ time. I’ve had tears, joy, everything rolled into one, and your life has revolved around this venue, and it will be a sad day when it leaves.”

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