THE future of the world's best woman snooker player could be in doubt, she admitted in York this week after playing through pain to retain her UK title.

Kelly Fisher, the 24-year-old four-times world champion from Carlisle, was in so much pain on the morning of the final against young Belgian Wendy Jans, the world No 7, that she almost decided she would not be able to play.

The previous day she was in agony with tennis elbow and went to Pontefract accident and emergency department, but they said they could not cure the problem and told her to take pain-killers.

She has suffered once before from the ailment and has been told that it could recur at any time.

"I really didn't think I could play the final," she said after her 4-1 win over Jans at York's Barbican Centre.

"My right elbow was really stiff and painful and it hurt every time I played a shot.

"Fortunately it became more supple as the match progressed.

"I am just so relieved to have won. I didn't think I would because the pain was affecting me."

The tennis elbow flared up following her victory in the European Open in Belgium last weekend.

Retaining her UK title was her 13th consecutive ranking tournament triumph.

Updated: 12:41 Saturday, December 14, 2002