World Championship: Barry Hawkins hopes to end "pretty mediocre" season on a high at Crucible

Barry Hawkins admits his season has been “pretty mediocre” but he cues off at the Betfred World Championship on Wednesday in determined mood.

Barry Hawkins

The 40-year-old has one of the best records in Sheffield over the last six seasons.

Since losing in the 2013 final to Ronnie O’Sullivan, Hawkins has reached the quarter-finals once and four semi-finals.

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An impressive run of consistency for a player who lost in the first round on his first five visits to the Crucible.

“This is one of the tournaments I really get motivated for,” said Hawkins, who opens up on Wednesday morning against Sheffield-based Chinese potter Li Hang. “It’s always nice to come back, it’s a special place.

“I would take a semi-final now. I don’t know why, it’s just the way it’s happened over the last six years.

“I think sometimes, for me, I struggle for a bit of motivation, the longer I play. Sometimes I need a kick up the bum.

“In this tournament, if you are not ready, you are quickly found out.

“The last six years it has brought the best out of me. I get excited about coming, so maybe that’s the reason.

“I have played some of my best snooker in Sheffield, although I have also played some of my worst snooker here too. Then it’s not a nice place to play, you want the ground to swallow you up.

“My season has been pretty mediocre. I have been to a few semis, not been to a (ranking) final this year, and my form has been a bit in and out.

“But I have been practicing hard for this one. This tournament can turn your season around.”

With O’Sullivan’s first-round exit, there is definitely a feeling in Sheffield that the field is wide open now.

Hawkins is just relishing stepping out again in front of a packed Crucible crowd.

“It’s a massive tournament, and it makes such a difference to have a packed house,” Hawkins told The Yorkshire Post.

“All the top players will say the same, you go to big tournaments in China, huge events with big prize money, and there will be no-one watching.

“It can be demoralising, top players need that buzz to produce their best game. When you don’t have that, you can feel flat and horrible.

“This tournament you are a million miles away from feeling flat.

“As soon as you walk out there, from the first ball you hit, it’s so nerve-wracking. That’s why you will see the best players play their best snooker here.”