Mark Williams' epic 2018 Betfred Snooker World Championship victory has proved the sport's biggest fans correct in their assessment of when professionals are at their best.
In a March SMI poll, 34% of respondents stated that snooker players were at their best between 35-44 years of age, with 28% selecting the 25-34 category.
With both World Championship finalists sitting within the 'best' perceived age group (Williams 43 and Higgins 42) in addition to (arguably) the season's most consistent performer Ronnie O'Sullivan (42), supporters appear to be right on the mark.
While a total of 65% of respondents believed snooker professionals peaked at a specific age, 35% believed it was 'more about mental strength'; the most selected poll option. This figure was significantly higher among female snooker fans with 55% selecting mental strength as the more crucial element.
However with Williams, Higgins and O'Sullivan set to approach their mid-40's in the coming years, their next challenge may just be to prove 45+ year olds can still improve their game. Only 2% of respondents thought Snooker professionals are at their best from 45 years and over; perhaps something the current older generation of stars will soon be looking change.
The findings from the poll also showed that:
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