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30 Years and Counting: Veteran John Higgins Set for Milestone Season in Snooker’s Top-16

Scottish snooker star John Higgins is eager to begin the new season with a strong performance. The four-time world champion narrowly maintained his top-16 ranking last season, securing his 30th consecutive campaign in the top 16 with a thrilling final frame victory over Mark Allen at the World Championship.

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-07-09

Louis Hobbs

6 minutes read

John Higgins in the middle of a tournament

Scottish snooker star John Higgins is hungry to start the new season with a bang.

The four-time world champion narrowly avoided losing his cherished top 16 ranking status last season. But a breathtaking final frame last 16 victory over Mark Allen at the World Championship in Sheffield made sure the battling Scot secured this season will be an impressive 30th successive campaign in the top 16.

Battling to Stay in the Top-16

“As long I keep wanting to play this game, you don’t want to drop out of the top 16,” Higgins told SportsBoom.com.

“It’s maybe a little thing which has been keeping me going as long as I have been.”

“You don’t want to drop down the rankings, certainly not.”

“There were good parts to my season, but ultimately I ran out of steam (at the World Championship).”

“As most players will tell you now, it’s the solo practise you don’t really enjoy these days.”

“But I still love playing games and the competitive nature of practising, that’s all I’ve ever known. I don’t think I’ve ever lost that (hunger).”

“Every snooker player is different, of course, and has different desires for the game, but that’s what gets me through and motivates me to play.”

John Higgins with a cue stick

Image Credits: Euro Sport

Pride in Past Achievements

Higgins added: “Maybe over the years I’ve downplayed my wins.”

“I should be really proud of my wins. As you get older you appreciate them more because you realise how difficult it is to win the World Championship.”

“It does take a lot of you, ultimately, I was disappointed (losing to Kyren). “

“Also, at this stage of my career a win like that (against Mark) is not much consolation, especially if you’ve won it four times and been to four finals, winning last 16 matches are not much consolation.”

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Luca (Brecel) was obviously the first from mainland Europe and Kyren has been pushing hard. It just shows you what hard work can get you in this sport. He pours his heart and his soul into the game. He deserves his win for sure.

John Higgins

Looking Ahead to the Shanghai Masters

Higgins showed signs of some decent form in the Championship League in Leicester last month, a warm-up to the Shanghai Masters – the first major ranking tournament of the season – which kicks off next Monday and runs 15-21 July at the Shanghai Indoor Stadium.

“It (Shanghai) is a good city to go and play in,” said Higgins. “It is a well-supported event as well.”

“Top players against wildcards, it is a great event with top players.”

“It is something I would have missed out on if I hadn’t stayed in the top 16 so it is something to enjoy.”

Looking Ahead to the Shanghai Masters

Higgins showed signs of some decent form in the Championship League in Leicester last month, a warm-up to the Shanghai Masters – the first major ranking tournament of the season – which kicks off next Monday and runs 15-21 July at the Shanghai Indoor Stadium.

“It (Shanghai) is a good city to go and play in,” said Higgins. “It is a well-supported event as well.”

“Top players against wildcards, it is a great event with top players.”

“It is something I would have missed out on if I hadn’t stayed in the top 16 so it is something to enjoy.”

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.