In 2018 Mark Williams became only the eighth player to win the World Snooker Championship on three or more occasions in the modern era and the oldest winner of the event since countryman Ray Reardon in 1978.
The Welshman stands fifth on the all-time list of ranking event winners with 22 titles since turning professional in 1992.
The first left-handed player to win the World Championship, during the 2002/3 season Williams became one of only three players alongside Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry to have won each of snooker’s ‘triple crown’ events during the same season.
He has topped snooker’s world ranking list on three separate occasions and has made over 450 century breaks during the course of his career, including two maximums. He is one of only six players to have compiled a 147 break at the televised stages of the World Championship (2005).
Born in Cwm, Williams began playing snooker at an early age, scoring his first century break at the age of 13 and claiming titles including the British Under-16 Championship and UK Under-19 Championship in 1991.
Williams would turn professional in 1992 and made steady progress up the world rankings, also making his debut at the Masters in 1995 having defeated Rod Lawler 9-5 to win its qualifying event.
His first ranking event title came on home soil at the 1996 Welsh Open when he defeated John Parrott 9-3 to claim victory, which he followed up with success at the Grand Prix and British Open over the following 12 months.
His biggest breakthrough however came at the 1998 Masters when he came back from 9-6 down to defeat six-time champion Stephen Hendry on a re-spotted black to claim his first ‘triple crown’ title.
In 1998 he reached the semi-finals of the World Championship for the first time, before reaching the final a year later, losing 18-11 to Hendry.
World Champion & Triple Crown
The following season was to prove the strongest of his career to date as he won the UK Championship in Bournemouth before coming back from 13-7 down to defeat Matthew Stevens and win the World Championship for the first time in 2000.
He added a second world title in 2003 with an 18-16 success against Ken Doherty to crown an outstanding season which also saw him claim the UK Championship and Masters titles, becoming only the third player ever to win each of the ‘big three’ titles during a single campaign.
Following his outstanding 2002/3 campaign Williams enjoyed less frequent success as he dropped as low at 22nd in the world rankings over the subsequent years. He did however continue to add to his ranking event tally with victories at the China Open in 2006 and 2010, as well as the 2011 German Masters in Berlin.
It would not be until the 2017/18 season however when Williams would enjoy sustained success as he added a further four ranking titles to his CV over a 12-month period. He captured his first title for over six years at the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast with a 9-8 victory against Yan Bingtao, before adding his second German Masters title with a 9-1 demolition of Graeme Dott in the final.
History would be made however at the World Championship in 2018 when he defeated old rival John Higgins 18-16 in one of the highest quality finals the sport has ever seen to claim his third world title. At 43-years-old Williams became the second-oldest winner of the event at the Crucible Theatre and the 15 years between his second and third world titles marked the longest span between World Championship victories ever.
Williams claimed his 22nd ranking event success at the World Open in August 2018, defeating David Gilbert 10-9 in Yushan, China.
WST Ranking Event Titles (22)
- 2018/19: World Open
- 2017/18: Northern Ireland Open, German Masters, World Championship
- 2010/11: German Masters
- 2009/10: China Open
- 2005/06: China Open
- 2003/04: LG Cup
- 2002/03: UK Championship, World Championship
- 2001/02: China Open, Thailand Masters
- 2000/01: Grand Prix
- 1999/00: UK Championship, Thailand Masters, World Championship
- 1998/99: Irish Open, Welsh Open, Thailand Masters
- 1996/97: Grand Prix, British Open
- 1995/96: Welsh Open
WST Minor-Ranking Event Titles (2)
- 2013/14: Rotterdam Open
- 2010/11: Players Tour Championship Event 1
Professional Non-Ranking Event Titles (5)
- 2006/07: Pot Black
- 2002/03: Masters
- 1997/98: Masters, Pontins Professional
- 1994/95: Masters Qualifying Event