Stuart Bingham returns to action for the first time since becoming snooker’s World Champion at the Nongfu Spring World Cup in China next week.
Bingham will be in action next week for the first time since becoming World Champion
Essex cueman Bingham beat Shaun Murphy in the final at the Crucible last month to land the sport’s biggest prize for the first time.
Next week in the city of Wuxi he’ll team up with world number one Mark Selby in the England team bidding for the $200,000 top prize.
There will be 24 teams competing, initially split into four groups of six, with the top two in each group going through to the quarter-finals.
“I’m really looking forward to the new season, especially being introduced into every arena as World Champion,” said Bingham. “Obviously there will be added expectation on me, it was the same after I won my first ranking event in 2011. I might have a great season, I might have a bad one, but I’m going to enjoy it.
“I got back to practice last week and it was nice to miss a ball and think ‘never mind, I’m World Champion!’ It’s still a surreal feeling although it is starting to sink in. I’m getting recognised a lot more now and I’ve had messages from so many people.
The trophy has been in the back of my car and I’ve been everywhere – to snooker clubs, cricket clubs and hospitals to go and meet people. I’ve said ‘yes’ to everything so far, so in a way it is nice now to get back on the practice table and back to what I do best.
“The World Cup will be fun, Mark Selby and I have been texting each other about it and I’m calling him the ‘former World Champion.’ I knew I needed a good run in Sheffield to get into the team so it was a big added bonus to get the chance to represent my country.
“It’s a tough format and there are a lot of good teams but hopefully we can qualify from our group and go a long way.”
England have been drawn in a group with Thailand – who they face first on Monday – Germany, Republic of Ireland, UAE and China B. The tournament runs from June 15 to 21. Click here for the group draw and format.
Nongfu Spring water will be the title sponsor of the World Cup