John Higgins is hoping the ‘hardest six months of his life’ are behind him after winning his third 12bet.com UK Championship title.
Higgins trailed 9-5 to Mark Williams, but recovered to win 10-9 in the final. It was his first major triumph since serving a six-month ban for bringing the game into disrepute after admitting breaching rules around betting.
Higgins admits his family helped him through those difficult times and he has won 18 out of 19 matches since returning to action last month.
He said: “It means everything just to be back playing and competing and now winning the UK Championship means a great deal.
“It has been the hardest six months I'll probably have to go through in my life, but hopefully I've put it behind me now.
“It is a learning curve and it has made me more determined.
“These things come to test you in life and this is one thing I've had to battle through.
“My wife Denise has been massive through all of this.
“Your wife, mum, dad, kids are the people that are behind you when all is said and done.
“There were probably some points when you thought you'd probably be cracking up and they keep you going and lift your spirits back up.”
Higgins showed great resilience in refusing to be beaten by Williams and has become the fourth player to win three or more UK titles after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
He said: “If someone had tried to write a book with that finale, they would have been laughed at.
“I was 9-5 behind, was being totally outplayed and running out of ideas. Mark was dictating everything, but I just never gave up.
“I thought 9-5 was too big a mountain, but the frames start to go by and a couple of things never went his way. The balls never forgive you. It is unbelievable.
“It is stuff that dreams are made of.”