Judd Trump will begin the defence of his World Snooker Championship title with a clash against Tom Ford at The Crucible.
The draw for the 2020 Betfred World Championship has been made, with world number one Trump opening up against former UK Championship semi-finalist Ford on Friday July 31.
Thirty-two players will compete for snooker’s richest and most prestigious prize at The Crucible Theatre from July 31 to August 16.
The world’s top 16 ranked players will be joined by 16 qualifiers in the £2.4 million tournament, the 44th to be held at the sport’s spiritual home in the Steel City.
Trump claimed the crown for the first time 12 months ago by defeating John Higgins in the final and faces a tricky opener against free-scoring Ford, with both sessions to be played out on the opening day as per tournament tradition.
Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has been drawn to face Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh as the two fastest players on the circuit collide in a mouth-watering battle.
Un-Nooh took eventual champion Trump all the way to a deciding frame last year and will look to subject ‘The Rocket’ to another early exit this time around.
Three-time World Champion Mark Selby will open up against Northern Ireland’s Jordan Brown – one of five players making their debut in this year’s competition.
Four-time World Champion John Higgins, who has finished runner-up in each of the last three stagings, faces two-time finalist Matthew Stevens in another stand-out tie.
Three time champion Mark Williams, who last triumphed in 2018, will take on 2016 semi-finalist Alan McManus, while former Masters Champion Mark Allen faces Welsh debutant Jamie Clarke – the lowest-ranked player in the field.
Neil Robertson, who lifted the title a decade ago, faces former English Open champion Liang Wenbo in another glamour tie.
Shaun Murphy, the 2005 champion, meets Thai ace Noppon Saengkham, while 2015 champion Stuart Bingham plays Doncaster debutant Ashley Carty.
Reigning UK Champion Ding Junhui, the 2016 Crucible runner-up, takes on former Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King.
Barry Hawkins, runner-up in 2013, has been handed a tie against Swiss newcomer Alexander Ursenbacher.
Yan Bingtao, seeded for the first time, opens up with a tie against Newcastle’s Elliot Slessor – who is eyeing a debut to remember.
David Gilbert, semi-finalist in 2019, takes on Norway’s Kurt Maflin, while eighth seed Kyren Wilson plays veteran Anthony Hamilton – making his first Crucible appearance since 2008.
Tour Championship winner Stephen Maguire takes on former German Masters champion Martin Gould, as 13th seed Jack Lisowski faces 2015 quarter-finalist Anthony McGill.
The full schedule of play will be confirmed in due course.
World Snooker Championship 2020 Draw
Judd Trump (1) v Tom Ford
Neil Robertson (2) v Liang Wenbo
Mark Williams (3) v Alan McManus
Mark Allen (4) v Jamie Clarke
John Higgins (5) v Matthew Stevens
Ronnie O’Sullivan (6) v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Mark Selby (7) v Jordan Brown
Kyren Wilson (8) v Anthony Hamilton
Stephen Maguire (9) v Martin Gould
Shaun Murphy (10) v Noppon Saengkham
Ding Junhui (11) v Mark King
David Gilbert (12) v Kurt Maflin
Jack Lisowski (13) v Anthony McGill
Stuart Bingham (14) v Ashley Carty
Barry Hawkins (15) v Alexander Ursenbacher
Yan Bingtao (16) v Elliot Slessor