Luca Brecel believes he will be a ‘nice world champion’ by playing snooker the Alex Higgins way.
The 28-year-old Belgian came of age at the Crucible by going through his entire spectacular repertoire to grab a deserved first world title.
The new world No2 made brilliant comebacks himself earlier in the event against Ronnie O’Sullivan and Si Jiahui, and had to survive a fierce Mark Selby rally before closing out an 18-15 success on Monday night.
Luca Brecel Claims Historic World Snooker Championship Title
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But former child prodigy Brecel’s dazzling array of shot-making and fearless commitment to entertain the crowd could see him as an inspirational figurehead for the sport.
And that would put him in the same bracket as Northern Irish legend ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, the original ‘People’s Champion’, who flew in the face of convention and changed the game forever.
Winning the biggest prize after 15 minutes practice, and partying hard before and during the tournament, has already entered into folklore.
And Brecel said: “I saw a lot of people on the internet comparing me to Alex Higgins and that’s amazing, it’s a huge compliment.
“That’s the way I want to play. I want to be entertaining. Winning is not the most important thing, I think.
“It’s great to see the crowds enjoying it and people loving it online as well. That’s the most important thing for me. I think my style can have an impact on kids and the way the game is played, definitely.
“It’s been an incredible World Championship. I’ve played my best stuff here, Si played a new level of snooker as well I think.
History for Snooker.
Luca Brecel becomes the first player from mainland Europe to lift the World Championship! 🇧🇪
#CazooWorldChampionship | @CazooUK
“It’s the style the people want to see. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I think I’m a nice world champion if you like because I play the game in a very attacking way.
“Look, it’s not always going to work because I’ll miss shots and leave my opponent easy chances, but if it works it’s fascinating to watch.”
Brecel’s triumph puts him alongside Terry Griffiths, Joe Johnson and Shaun Murphy as those to have lifted the trophy having never previously won a match.
In the Belgian’s case, still the youngest ever to play at the Crucible at 17 back in 2012, he had lost in the first round on all five previous occasions.
And referencing Johnson who adopted a similar attacking approach in 1986, he admitted: “After my record here, not winning a game after five attempts, I wasn’t expecting to win it anytime soon.
“To win it this year was absolutely crazy. It was the same thing that Joe Johnson did, never winning a match here and then winning it.
"It’s a dream come true and whatever happens now in my career I can say I’m a world champion.
“I did always believe that I was good enough, and I was good enough. I didn’t always do enough for the game to win at such a young age.
“And looking back there was no way I could have won it at say 19 or 20. My game was good enough but my mental strength wasn’t. However it is now with all the experience I have had.
“I had won other tournaments and that definitely helped me.”
And the similarities were not lost on Johnson, either – who simply blew the then-dominant Steve Davis away in the final 37 years ago.
Johnson said: “I have loved watching Luca – I am astonished and pleased that he has attacked the game and then executed it as well.
“People copy the game the world champion plays. When Steve Davis was dominating, we had a lot of players playing in that robotic way.
“Jimmy White, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump have inspired players.
“There is also a lot of Ronnie in Luca – although he is more crazy than Ronnie at the table. He reminds me of Ronnie when he first came on the scene at 17, going for all kinds of shots.
“And it scares people, especially if you pull it off and win frames with it. He’s so good to watch Luca, because you never know what is going to come next.”
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