Mark Williams is ready to play in agony at Snooker‘s World Grand Prix on Wednesday.
Three-time world champion Williams, 44, has been suffering from acute gout in his left foot over the past six days.
The world No3, reluctant to pull out and lose vital ranking-table prize money, has been given permission to play in slippers today in his last-32 clash with Barry Hawkins.
And armed with large doses of Colchicine medicine and plenty of water and grapes, Williams hopes to be able to compete.
Gout, a form of arthritis, has often been called the ‘rich man’s disease’ and is occasionally associated with excess consumption of rich food and alcohol.
Williams, who partied hard for months after his third Crucible crown 20 months ago, said: “It has been gout 1, Willo 0, and I can’t stick this pain no more.
“How can bedsheets touching your toes make you shout out? Colchicine, please work asap.
“When you wake up in the morning and can hardly walk – it’s like someone has hit my big toe with a hammer. Hard to think anything can be more painful than this.
“Here’s to clarify, I will be there even if I have to drive up, break off and concede, that way I get my £5,000. I’m close to the ranking for the next Coral top 16 event and £5k could be vital.
“If I had been playing Monday or Tuesday, then I wouldn’t have been playing.”
Meanwhile Neil Robertson continued his excellent recent form with a 4-3 win over Michael Holt to reach the last 16.
World No2 Robertson, 37, is coming off victory at the European Masters in Austria last month and then getting to a second straight final at the German Masters in Berlin on Sunday.
As well as battling for the Grand Prix crown this week, Robertson is in pole position to scoop a £150,000 bonus for being leading money-winner in a separate four-event European series.
The two events left are the quickfire Shootout – for which the entry deadline is midday today [Wed] – and the Gibraltar Open, tournaments Robertson would normally swerve.
He said: “I don’t know about the Shootout, each match is a coin-toss being one frame with the shot-clock. I’d rather fight it out with Judd in Gibraltar. Let’s wait and see.”
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