Mark King lost a World Championship thriller but only has eyes on one place - the golf course, writes Will Jennings.
The Romford potter lost a topsy-turvy contest against world No.11 Ding Junhui at the Crucible, having been 9-7 down before pegging the contest back to tee up a nerve-jangling decider.
That ended in heartbreak for the world No.46 but King, who was making his first appearance in Sheffield since 2013, says he can’t wait to put his cue down and play a few rounds of golf now the season has come to an end.
Asked about his plans after losing at the Crucible, the 46-year-old: “Golf, golf, golf, and a bit more golf!
“That’s it really - I’ll put my cue down for a couple of weeks and have a little chill out with the family, and then once the new season gets going I’ll get my head down again and try and get a bit of momentum going.
“It’s great to be back here - it’s such a great venue to play at and it’s one of those places where it’s so enclosed that sometimes it can be really, really hard and sometimes it can be really, really easy.
“I just need to work on a few little bits as my positional play was so bad, but it’s just a great place to play, it’s one in a million and you can’t beat this place.”
King has been open about his struggles with gambling in the past but almost hit the jackpot with his snooker in Sheffield, trailing 5-4 heading into Saturday’s second session before playing his part in a pulsating encounter.
The 2016 Northern Ireland Open champion made a fine 111 on Friday before a Saturday showdown unfolded under the famous Crucible lights, as Ding led 9-7 but the underdog fought back to restore parity.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) August 1, 2020
That prompted a decider but 14-time ranking event winner Ding held his never to book his place against either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the last 16.
For all his success at the table the Chinese player has never won the world title, and King had a message of support for his first round nemesis as he bids to break his Crucible duck.
“I really hopes he wins it and gets that monkey off his back - he’s a nice guy and has just had a littlun, so I wish him all the best,” he added.
“I was nowhere near my best and I gave it everything - I’m quite proud of myself that nowhere near my best I dug in and stuck in there.”
Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July – 16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.