Hossein Vafaei’s decision not to shake Mark Williams’ hand at the end of their World Grand Prix match has been labelled ‘a wee bit immature’ and ‘a bit silly’ by Alan McManus and Stephen Hendry respectively.
Williams beat Vafaei 4-1 in the second round in Leicester before the Iranian left the playing are without shaking the Welshman’s hand.
The three-time world champion confronted the Prince of Persia about the incident shortly afterwards and was told it was because Williams slapped his own leg after missing the final ball of the game.
Vafaei thought it was disrespectful as he felt the match was over, while Williams says he was disappointed to miss as he thought his opponent would play on for snookers.
McManus was not impressed with Vafaei blanking Williams, saying you should always shake your opponent’s hand and move on.
‘It’s his own fault. You shake the guy’s hand, I’ve been saying this for long enough,’ former Masters champion McManus said on ITV4. ‘It’s the first thing I got taught when I went to group tuition as a kid, you shake your opponent’s hand. Period.
‘Then it’s done and you move on. It’s a wee bit immature of him as a snooker player, in my opinion. Shake your opponent’s hand.’
Hendry felt that Vafaei’s frustrations had been bubbling up throughout the match, starting in the second frame when he misread the score and didn’t play on the black from the final pink despite needing to pot both balls and eventually losing the frame.
‘I was commentating with David Hendon. He got down so casually for the pink and we both thought, what is he doing? Because he’s got to go all around the table for the black,’ said Hendry.
‘Turned out he misread the score, got a second chance to pot the black, quite an easy shot and I think that’s where the start of the night was and frustrations built throughout the whole match.’
On the Williams incident the seven-time world champ added: ‘The things is, he needs three snookers, Mark’s gone for the pink, slapped his thigh because he’s thought he shouldn’t have gone for that, could have just played safe.
‘Hossein’s taken it as Mark’s already won the match and he’s pretending he’s annoyed at missing the pink and shouldn’t have done it. It was a bit silly from Hossein because the match was over. Frustrations had built all through the night.’
Vafaei had a memorable feud with Ronnie O’Sullivan leading up to their Crucible clash last year, but starting at a low-key German Masters qualifier in 2022, during which the Rocket smashed the pack from the break-off and the Iranian felt disrespected.
‘We saw the thing with Ronnie O’Sullivan where he smashed the pack, he didn’t like that as well,’ said Hendry. ‘Things are going to happen through a season, you’ve got to learn to let them go.
‘He got booed as well! A pantomime villain off the table!’
Williams explained the situation after the match, saying: ‘I just pulled him up about it there and said, “what’s your problem?”. He said it was because I slapped my leg at the end when I won.
‘I slapped my leg at the end because I shouldn’t have gone for the pink, I should have played safe and I thought he would have come back to the table and carried on for snookers.
‘That’s why I was a bit fuming, I shouldn’t have gone for the pink and I knew it and he just stormed up.
‘He said that’s the reason, if that’s the reason, pfft, I don’t care anyway.’
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