John Higgins fears dropping out of snooker’s top 16 if he does not improve next year, which would lead to “a few questions”.
Higgins lost his World Championship quarter-final 13-7 against Mark Selby, having been level at 4-4.
The Scottish four-time world champion, 47, was ranked 11th at the start of April.
“I’ll definitely need to come back next year and produce a better standard and have a better season,” he said.
“And if not it’ll probably look as if I could be falling out the top 16. Then if you do that, there could be a few questions in my own mind I suppose. Poor season, no getting away from that.
“At the start of the second session I lost a terrible frame. I should’ve gone 5-4 in front and then after that I just got weaker and Mark just put his foot down on the throat. He’s an incredible animal on the snooker table. He just doesn’t let you breathe and I had no answer to that.”
‘It shouldn’t be back-to-back sessions’
Higgins had been critical of scheduling two sessions with Selby back to back, which contrasted with fellow Scot Anthony McGill’s match with eventual winner Si Jiahui.
“It should be the mirror image of young Anthony and Si Jiahui,” said Higgins. “They came in the morning and played and then they finish at night. It should definitely be that.
“I’m upset with myself. Throughout the whole 10 days I’ve been here I’ve been getting up early in the morning, I’ve been coming over, I’ve been trying to practise and get myself ready but I’m thinking I’ve got these two prolonged sessions, I’ll have a long lie in bed.
“And I just felt as though I came over here and I just didn’t really wake up. I didn’t really feel I was in the game until it was slipping away from me and Mark was far too strong for me.”
‘Si is going to be special’
McGill lost in a final frame decider to 20-year-old Si, with the Scot tipping his opponent for the championship, saying: “Of course, he’s in the semi-final so why not?
“Amazing player and he’s only 20. I’m 32, I’m an old hat. This guy’s going to be special.
“I shouldn’t have won the decider. I didn’t feel like I was ever in it. I don’t think I was ahead or had the grip of the decider. He controlled. it.”
Right-handed McGill played a red left-handed at one stage but did not put his defeat down to that miss.
“It’s not the fact that I played it left-handed, it would’ve been the same outcome if I had played it with the rest,” he explained. “I was trying to convince myself that I could get through. I wanted that red out the way to clear the other three.”