Phil Haigh ✍️
Mark Williams says he has not stepped foot in a players’ lounge since the Masters in January and will not be doing again after the way his wife was treated at Alexandra Palace.
The three-time world champion heads to the Barbican in York next week, where he will take on Jamie Clarke in the last 32 of the UK Championship, however, the incident in north London remains on his mind.
Understandably so as wife Joanne was not only inconvenienced by staff at the Masters, but then left outside in the cold in sub-zero temperatures as Mark finished off his media obligations.
Speaking ahead of his trip to the UK Championship, Williams told Metro.co.uk: ‘The only bad thing about it is, I’m going to the second biggest tournament in the world, I always love going to play there and it’s a bit of a downer because I won’t be setting foot in the player’s lounge.
‘Me and my missus won’t be because of what happened in the Masters. I haven’t set foot in a players’ lounge since and never will.
‘At the Masters, I was only allowed one pass for the players’ lounge, so we just went in there to get our tickets to get in the arena. Then we went to the arena, it’s about 20 stairs up to the arena but they wouldn’t let my missus walk up those stairs, they said she’s not allowed up.
‘They made her walk down the fire escape to the car park, all the way round the front of the building, up the steps for me to go and meet her to go into the arena.
‘After the match finished they chucked her outside the building, wouldn’t even leave her in the building! So she was sat on a bench outside the front door while I was doing interviews for an hour-and-a-half, waiting for me to finish. It was freezing, I didn’t even know, she was on her own.’
The 47-year-old said he has spoken to World Snooker Tour authorities about what happened, but he is far from satisfied with the outcomes.
‘I’ve had meetings, everyone agrees it shouldn’t have happened. But there was no apology, nothing like that,’ he said.
‘I’m like, f**k this, I’ll never set foot in a players’ lounge again!
‘I just go and do my practice and then sit outside and sit in the foyer or something. I haven’t spoken to anyone who doesn’t agree it shouldn’t have happened.’
A statement from World Snooker Tour read: ‘This was a regrettable incident although our security staff were following the guidelines on backstage access which were sent to all players well in advance of the event and Mark would have been aware of.
‘At the time we were operating under Covid restrictions so it was essential to limit numbers backstage. We have since spoken to Mark to explain.’
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