Ricky Walden still has ambitions of becoming world champion in the future but admits he must improve across the board if that is to become a reality after exiting the Betfred World Championship.
Despite brief moments of top-class snooker, the Chester cueman was largely outclassed by John Higgins as he slipped to a 13-8 defeat in the second round at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Monday.
Walden trailed 10-6 overnight , which quickly became 11-6, although he did makes breaks of 62 and 84 to make it 11-8.
But four-time world champion Higgins compiled impressive knocks of 92 and 99 to book a quarter-final against fellow Scot Alan McManus, leaving Walden frustrated at being unable to replicate the form that saw him reach the final at both the China Open and PTC Finals in the past month.
“I’ve definitely got to improve. I need to improve in all departments if I want to go all the way in this kind of tournament,” said Walden, who beat Robbie Williams in his first round match .
“It’s only fractions, there aren’t too many big things to assess but just generally I need to improve throughout.
“I’m playing some good stuff and playing really well in practice. I had two good tournaments in China and Manchester and I was starting to click into gear in the odd frame in that match but it just wasn’t to be.
“I couldn’t get two or three frames on the spin because I was so cheap in other areas.”
While Higgins did outscore Walden, it wasn’t by a particularly wide margin, yet the Scot dominated in the safety department.
And the 33-year-old believes his lack of precision in the safety game is ultimately what cost him.
“I just didn’t compete in the safety department for starters,” added Walden. “I was out of touch with my safety from the first session to the last really and gave away so many cheap frames.
“John punishes you when you leave the cueball where I was. There’s no question that John is always going to be up there given the game he’s got and the experience he has.
“Every part of his game is so strong, so he’ll always be there or thereabouts for these tournaments. You have to compete in every department to get close to winning and I didn’t do that.”
- Watch the World Championship LIVE on Eurosport, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan.