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Mark Williams slams “pathetic” Hossein Vafaei following handshake snub

Jamie Shaw in World Grand Prix

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Williams and Vafaei (Photo credit: Imaginechina Limited/Alamy)

Mark Williams has branded Hossein Vafaei “pathetic” after refusing to shake hands at the end of their World Grand Prix contest on Wednesday.

Williams stormed to a 4-1 victory over Vafaei in the Second Round in Leicester, but was left stunned after the Iranian exited the arena without shaking his hand.

Williams immediately confronted Vafaei backstage over the snub – which Vafaei explained was as a result of the Welshman slapping his leg after missing a pink in the last frame.

The three-time World Champion revealed he did so because he assumed Vafaei would return to the table to play on for snookers, but instead the ‘Prince of Persia’ interpreted the reaction as disrespectful and stormed off.

“I just pulled him up about it there and said, “what’s your problem?”, Williams told ITV Sport.

“He said it was because I slapped my leg at the end when I won.

“I slapped my leg at the end because I shouldn’t have gone for the pink, I should have played safe and I thought he would have come back to the table and carried on for snookers.

‘That’s why I was a bit fuming, I shouldn’t have gone for the pink and I knew it and he just stormed off.

“He said that’s the reason, if that’s the reason, pfft, I don’t care anyway.”

Williams then took to X to reply to a number of tweets over the incident, adding: ‘Unreal, didn’t know what was happening. I was a good admirer of his game as well, all my family liked him, not sure they do after that now.’

In further replies, he also blasted Vafaei’s conduct as ‘pathetic’ and a ‘load of rubbish’.

Vafaei had posted a video of Williams’ reaction to missing the pink but has since deleted the post and deactivated his X account.

An eventful encounter also saw Vafaei bizarrely lose the second frame after miscounting, potting the final pink but not leaving himself on the black – which Williams eventually potted to double his lead.

In frame five, as the referee was re-spotting balls after a foul, Williams picked up the cue ball and put it in his pocket as a joke, which led to a seven-point penalty.

Williams, who fired in breaks of 108, 76 and 75 on his way to a commanding victory, will now face China’s Cao Yupeng in the Quarter-Finals at the Morningside Arena on Thursday night.

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