Selby final frustration contributed to 'beginning of the end' comment - Higgins

John Higgins believes his defeat to Mark Selby in the 2017 World Snooker Championship final may have contributed to a frustrated outburst at this season's UK Championship.

The four-time world champion said "that's is the beginning of the end for me" after falling to a 6-5 defeat against Mark King in York in December, having allowed a six-frame lead to slip in the Crucible decider seven months earlier.

It was put to Higgins by Omnisport, ahead of his World Championship opener against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, that the comment might have been the result of a build-up of frustration that started with the Selby defeat.

Higgins, 42, agreed, saying: "It could possibly have been that, because thinking you let a big chance slip away... then you're thinking negative thoughts and everything just gets blurted out.

"At the end of the day that was a massive defeat for me, it was a massive bad moment in my career. It will possibly go down as one of the worst moments in my career, blowing a big lead.

"All credit to Selby for coming back, but it was a tough pill to take.

"I was overreacting a touch [to the King defeat], I suppose. You've just come out of a match where you've thrown away a few chances and you get confronted with a microphone right away, so it's difficult sometimes to keep the emotions in check.

"Luckily for me, after that I managed to win a couple of tournaments to make me feel a bit better."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Higgins' maiden Crucible triumph, having also won the title in 2007, 2009 and 2011, and the Scot insists he still enjoys playing.

"I still love competing and I'm still winning a few tournaments and that can give you some confidence during the year," he added.

"I'm proud that I'm still in there competing with the top players 20 years after winning it for the first time."

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