World Snooker Championship: Allen rows back on self-criticism after Higgins defeat

Mark Allen and John Higgins
John Higgins fought back from 5-2 down against Mark Allen to earn a 13-9 second-round win at the Crucible Theatre
World Snooker Championship 2017
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 15 April - 1 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, online and app.

Mark Allen says his comments lamenting his own preparations for the World Championship after Saturday's defeat by John Higgins were made "in jest".

After his 13-9 defeat, Allen bemoaned a failure to prepare for morning sessions in the marathon Sheffield tournament.

"I don't practise at 10 o'clock in the morning. I didn't get started until 12 o'clock today," said Allen on Saturday.

However, Allen released a statement on Sunday directed at "anyone questioning my commitment".

"People who take everything I said in last night's press conference literally need to get a life," said Allen's statement.

"Some things are said in jest. I'd be pretty confident there aren't many players out there who work as hard as I do on the table.

"I am working hard to get things right off it too. Few days off and I'll be back practising as I KNOW I have the game to win."

In his post-match news conference on Saturday night, Allen also said he was attempting to lose weight in order to boost his ability to perform in the major tournaments.

"I've lost a stone and half since the Masters. There's maybe another seven [stone] to go. I'll just keep working hard."

Higgins dominates Allen in morning session

The Northern Irishman led four-time world champion Higgins 5-3 after a brilliant opening session on Friday only for the Scot, 41, to dominate Saturday's morning play as he moved 9-7 up, before going on to close out the match.

Immediately after Saturday's defeat, world number 11 Allen said: "It's my own fault. I don't prepare properly for these tournaments.

"Twelve o'clock is normally the time when I'm getting up and lazing about the house," continued Allen, who has won three ranking tournaments in his 12-year professional career.

"You need to prepare in all facets. Not just working on the table but working on the table at the right times. I just wasn't prepared for a 10 o'clock match."

When asked whether he would address the morning session issue in the future, Allen replied: "Probably not."

Former world champion Terry Griffiths is now one of snooker's most respected coaches
Mark Allen was previously coached by 1979 world champion Terry Griffiths

Allen unable to agree coaching deal with Griffiths

In Sunday's statement, Allen also said his attempts to get Terry Griffiths back on board as his coach had been rebuffed by the Welshman after they had been unable to agree financial terms.

"Terry approached me in February about wanting me back. I obviously said as I view him as the best coach in the business that I was interested.

"I told him I had missed working with him. I said that I would like to review the normal contract and have it more performance-based so we both had to earn our money.

"I offered him three different contracts which were all financially better for him. He turned down all three.

"I confided a lot of things in Terry as I always viewed him as family, not just a coach.

"[But] taking weeks to respond and then to point blank say 'no, we're doing it this way or nor way' wasn't good enough for me."