Reigning champion Mark Selby launches his World Championship title defence against Jamie Jones at the Crucible on Saturday.
As it tradition, the defending champion will break off in the opening match of snooker’s blue-riband event, which he won for a fourth time 12 months ago after beating Shaun Murphy 18-15 in the final.
But the Jester has struggled to build on that momentum; a run to the World Grand Prix semi-finals representing his best performance of a quiet season.
Selby bravely revealed his ongoing battle with mental health issues earlier this year, but arrives at the Crucible refreshed having not played since the Welsh Open at the start of March.
The world number two has only fallen at the first hurdle four times in his 17 previous appearances in Sheffield.
The most recent of these came in 2018, when his title defence ended on the opening day following a 10-4 defeat by Joe Perry.
Four years later, he faces another tricky proposition in Jamie Jones.
The Welshman overcame Mark Joyce and Tom Ford to secure a fifth appearance, where he was a quarter-finalist on his debut in 2012.
The world number 37 reached the last eight in his most recent event at the Gibraltar Open, and certainly knows what it takes to produce the goods on the biggest stage of all.
Indeed, he has recorded notable victories over the likes of Shaun Murphy and Stephen Maguire in his four previous appearances, and will not be intimidated in his quest to add Selby to that list of scalps.
Yan Bingtao or Chris Wakelin awaits the winner in the second round.
Play gets underway at 10am GMT on Saturday with the opening nine frames, before a maximum of 10 commence from 7pm.
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