Daily Star

WORLD CHAMP GETS THE HUMP WITH CRITICS

- ■ by MIKE WALTERS

LUKE HUMPHRIES has answered trolls who branded him the “worst world champion” after a freak defeat and snapped: “Get off my back.”

‘Cool hand Luke’ bounced back from a 6-0 whitewash by Ian White in the opening Players Championsh­ip floor tournament of the season to reach the final at the Premier League’s Glasgow meeting 72 hours later.

And the world No.1 called on critics not to judge him on a blow-out in a draughty Wigan tennis centre.

Humphries said: “I was written off and called ‘the worst world champion,’ so I just wanted to come out and play well in Glasgow.

“In the end I was quite unlucky not to win and I’m proud of how I played. I’m not really that frustrated about what happened on Monday. I’m disappoint­ed to lose, but you can’t win every game you play.”

Humphries averaged only 81 against White, a grim parody of the player who went on a 20-match unbeaten run and winning four Majors either side of the New Year, including the big one at Alexandra Palace.

He said: “I understand the pressures of being world champion but every game you lose, like the Ian White game on Monday, can happen.

“No excuses, I got fairly beaten.

“But when everybody gets on your back, it can become tiresome. I probably overachiev­ed at the back end of last year – no one expected it – so it would be nice if people stayed off my back a little bit.

“It’s not just me. Luke (Littler) gets so much pressure as well and it’s tough when you are relatively new to it.

“I don’t feel the target on my back, but every time you lose a game, suddenly everyone is against you and everyone thinks you are going to fall by the wayside.”

 ?? ?? ■ TOUGH AT TOP: Humphries has had a difficult start to his reign
■ TOUGH AT TOP: Humphries has had a difficult start to his reign

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