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Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 11:26 UK

Holt hopes to pass Higgins test

Michael Holt
Holt lost to Higgins in the 2007 World Championship

Nottingham's Michael Holt says he could hardly have got a tougher draw in the first round of the World Championship.

Holt, 30, faces former champion and world number five John Higgins at the Crucible in Sheffield on Wednesday.

And he knows he will have to be at his best if wants to get into the second round of snooker's showpiece event for only the second time in his career.

"It's probably the second toughest draw and someone you want to steer clear of," Holt told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"But there are no easy draws so I've got to play him and try my best."

But Holt believes added maturity and experience can help him cope better with the Crucible atmosphere this season.

"This year I'm really looking forward to it more, and I appreciate it a lot more," he said.

"Hopefully I can do better than in the past, because I don't feel as if I've ever fulfilled my potential."

Holt is a big fan of the Crucible, despite his lack of success there.

He said: "It's a fantastic venue. It's quite small, and people can lean and touch your arm. You can hear them whispering. It's that close, and it creates such a fantastic atmosphere. It's special for everyone.

Mentally, I've been very inconsistent in the past. This year... I haven't given matches away

Michael Holt

And Holt, who reached the second round in 2005 where he lost to Steve Davis, hopes the event stays in Sheffield - despite talk of it going abroad.

"It'd be a shame for it (the World Championship) to move, but it's about money," Holt said. "If it's got to move, maybe they could move it around, so people could bid for it each year.

"For it not to be at the Crucible again would be a big shame."

Holt is having one of his best seasons, having regained his place in the world's top 32, and reached the last 16 of two tournaments.

He said: "My game's been consistent, but mentally, I've been very inconsistent in the past. This year, people have had to beat me. I haven't given matches away."



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