STUART Bingham has criticised Shaun Murphy after the latter revealed he was injured the morning of the 2015 World Championships final.

Bingham, from Bowers Gifford, defeated Murphy 18-15 in the final at the Crucible almost three years ago to win snooker’s greatest prize.

But Murphy has now said he was struggling with a back injury to the extent where he contemplated pulling out of the final altogether.

And Bingham says he finds it strange that Murphy is only making the claims now, labelling them ‘a load of rubbish’.

“It is the first time it’s ever come out,” said Bingham. “Surely if you have a bad back the morning of playing you would have made it known back then.

“To say it three years later doesn’t make sense to me and I think it is a load of rubbish.

“But it is up to him what he wants to say, I just have to focus on my game.”

Bingham’s quotes are in response to Murphy’s after he claimed his coach was needed to walk on his back ahead of the final.

Murphy told World Snooker: “On the Sunday morning before the final I was lying on the floor of the practice room so my coach Chris Henry could walk on my back to get it right. I was unable to hit any balls that morning and, thankfully, through intense physio work and Chris walking on my back, sticking his elbow in key places, I got myself in a position to be able to play. While having breakfast that morning, I was contemplating becoming the first person to pull out of a world final.”

Bingham is still looking to assure his place in the 2018 World Championships next month, with the China Open his final chance to secure the necessary points to make it to Sheffield.

Following a run to the quarter-finals of the Gibraltar Open, the 41-year-old is now in Romania for an invitational Masters event.

And Bingham - who faces Australian Neil Robertson in the first round tonight - says a good run is important as he looks to end a difficult season on a high.

“My first game against Neil is very tough, but that is what I want,” he said. “He has been playing well and we always enjoy good games.

“The draw is very tough but I am solely focusing on Neil at the moment and I won’t look beyond that.

“It is a chance to compete in a great arena and the first one to get going will be key as it is only a best of seven match.

“It is a chance to get prize money and get form ahead of China. It will be good to play a top 16 event and get that practice in. There is no pressure and I will try and enjoy it.

“I did OK in Gibraltar and I beat some good players on the way to the last eight.

“I lost to Cao Yupeng but I was unlucky in the first frame when I could have won it. After that he didn’t miss a ball and there wasn’t much I could do.”