MARK Williams fears an early exit from this year’s World Championship could be on the cards if he doesn’t start putting in more work on the practice table.

The Cwm cueman’s comments came after suffering a 6-3 defeat by Australian Neil Robertson in the first round of the Dafabet Masters.

Williams, who sealed a third world crown at the Crucible last May, led 3-1 before Robertson, the 2010 world champion, reeled off five frames in a row.

And if he plays like he did at Alexandra Palace when the worlds come around again in April, the 43-year-old knows his title defence won’t last very long.

Reflecting on the Robertson loss, he said: “I played poor all the way through really.

“I had an easy brown to look like going 4-1 up and when I missed that the match turned.

“He started to play okay, had some good breaks and the momentum shifted around. As soon as I missed that brown, I was never in it.

“He had a lot of run when he was nicking frames off me, but after missing that brown the balls never forgave me.”

He continued: “I was expecting to play like that because I’ve hardly touched my cue.

“I’ll have to start practicing obviously with the World Championship coming up.

“It’s the only tournament I’m looking forward to.

“I’ll have to put a bit of work in for that otherwise I’ll play like I did today and go out in the first round.

“I’ve got no-one else to blame if I go out in the first round, it’ll be my own fault.”

Robertson was understandably delighted to knockout the world champion, more so because he missed the tournament in 2018 after briefly dropping out of the world’s top 16.

He said: “It was really frustrating coming here last year (to work for Eurosport) and not being in the tournament. It’s hard to miss out.

“To beat the world champion was a huge step in the right direction.”