Phil Haigh ✍️
John Higgins suffered the toughest of losses in the Tour Championship final earlier this month, but practice partner Anthony McGill says he has bounced back in fine style, playing unbelievably well and in a good mental space.
The Wizard of Wishaw led Neil Robertson 9-4 in Llandudno, only to lose six frames on the spin and the match 10-9.
The veteran has seen it all in his great career, but that one stung badly and he admitted that he didn’t know if he could recover from the gut punch in time for the Crucible.
However, McGill says the four-time world champ was back in surprisingly good form in no time at all, playing brilliantly in practice and seeming good in his own mind.
Asked how Higgins has been in recent weeks, McGill told Metro.co.uk: ‘Aye he had a stinker and to be honest I didn’t think I’d see him getting ready for this, I thought he might just lay low until the Crucible.
‘But I spoke to him the next day and he was in great spirits, really, surprisingly. He’s been practicing and playing unbelievable…unbelievable.
‘I think John’s in a good space mentally. Quite philosophical about things. That’s the impression I get anyway, so I think he’s happy to be here, same as me.’
It was a rapid turnaround from the dark mood Higgins found himself in after the loss to Robertson, which was his fifth defeat in a final this season.
‘I don’t know if I can pick myself up for the Worlds right now,’ Higgins said, via the Daily Record. ‘The end of the match could leave some really big mental scars.
‘I just fell down near the end. You cannot miss that red that I missed when I had a chance to win it. That’s a shot that could ruin the end of your career really, who knows?
‘It’s a tough one to take. I’m pretty numb and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. Who knows if I can bounce back from this for the Worlds?’
Back for an incredible 28th trip to the Crucible, Higgins is indeed looking forward to getting a challenge for a fifth world title underway against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh on Tuesday, proud that he is still competing at the very top of the game at 46 years old.
‘It’s going to be a fascinating tournament and obviously, with the way I’ve been playing, folk would maybe put me in the mix with those guys,’ Higgins said pre-tournament. ‘I can’t get too down on myself because the majority of the season I’ve played some good stuff – I’ve just run into some good players at really tough times.
‘This is my 28th time here I think and if I’m still in there competing then I’m proud of that.’
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