Mark Williams MBE (born 21 March 1975, Cwm, Wales) is a Welsh professional snooker player.
Williams has won 16 ranking tournaments, including two World Championships, and is the first left-handed player to win the World Championship.
Williams, a late developer compared with his rivals (including John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan), demonstrated his intentions to dominate the game when he won his first Masters title in 1998. The 1999/2000 season proved to be his defining moment, and he won both the UK Championship and the World Championship. These results, along with another ranking title and three runner-up positions, allowed him to capture the number one position.
Williams is believed by some to be the greatest ever potter in the game. His break-building is supreme, but relaxed positional play means that he does not often convert his frame-winning breaks of around 60 points to breaks over 100. One of his greatest qualities is his laid-back character, which helps in high-pressure situations.
Another important run of form came in the 2002/2003 season when he won the UK, Masters and World titles. This made him the only the fourth player after Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Higgins to hold these titles simultaneously. The season proved once again that Williams will go down in history as one of the game's greatest players.
In April 2004 Mark's fiancee Jo gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy named Connor. This, and the fact that he has achieved every ambition in the game, has meant that he often loses focus in matches and, as a result, he has slipped down the rankings. After losing in the first round of the 2003 UK Championship to Feargal O'Brien, he entered a run of relatively poor form which saw him slide to 9th in the world rankings for 2005/2006, having been only the 22nd-highest points scorer in the previous season, meaning that he would need an improvement of form to simply remain in the top 16.
Williams was awarded an MBE in June of 2004.
On April 20, 2005 he became the first Welshman, and the fifth player in history, to score the maximum 147 break at the Crucible Theatre during the World Championship. He did this in the final frame of a 10-1 first round victory over Robert Milkins.
On March 27th, 2006, Mark won his first ranking event in two and a half years, the China Open in Beijing, beating John Higgins 9-8 in a fantastic final. Williams is now provisionally back up to number 7 in the rankings after falling as low as 25.
Williams was originally an amateur boxer.
Due to an eyesight problem he is unable to distinguish between the red and brown balls, which has occasionally required him to request clarification from referees.
Williams is often referred to as Mark J. Williams, to distinguish him from another Mark Williams, an English player from the 1990s. After his 2000 World Championship win, the prize money was sent to the wrong Mark Williams by accident.