Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White will renew their era-defining rivalry in the opening round of the 2021 World Snooker Championship qualifiers.
The legendary duo, who famously contested four finals at The Crucible in the 90s, have been drawn together in the first qualifying round at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield next month.
Hendry, who all won all four of those finals, is making his return to the sport’s most prestigious tournament for the first time since 2012, having come out of retirement this season.
He has played just one competitive match this term, losing 4-1 to Matthew Selt in the recent Gibraltar Open, but making his 776th career century in the process.
White, 58, is the oldest player on the professional circuit and is bidding to reach the main stages of the World Championship for the first time since 2006, having lost in six previous finals.
Their box office First Round tie will be contested over the best of 11 frames, with China’s Xu Si awaiting the winner in the second of four qualifying rounds.
Hendry was notified of his opponent live on ITV4 during coverage of the Tour Championship and said: “I can’t believe it.
“All those finals and now we’re starting off at rock bottom playing each other in the very first round, it’s incredible.
“We have been practising together but that will end now.”
The World Championship qualifiers take place from April 5-14 before the main event at The Crucible from April 17 to May 3.
A total of 16 qualifiers will join the world’s top 16 ranked players in the main draw.
Players seeded 81-144 contest the opening round of the qualifiers, with those 32 winners facing players seeded 49-80 in Round Two.
Round Three sees those 32 winners face players seeded 17-48, while the final qualifying round features those 32 winners facing off for the right to reach The Crucible.
Other notable First Round qualifying ties include 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty up against 1997 quarter-finalist Lee Walker.
Women’s World Champion Reanne Evans kicks off her latest bid to make it to the Crucible against Andy Hicks – the same opponent she faced last year when she lost 6-3.
Rebecca Kenna will make her debut in the event against Brandon Sargeant, while James Cahill, conqueror of Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2019, opens up against Sean Maddocks.
World Snooker Championship Qualifiers 2021 Draw
Selected First Round ties
Jimmy White v Stephen Hendry
Ken Doherty v Lee Walker
Andy Hicks v Reanne Evans
Brandon Sargeant v Rebecca Kenna
Ashley Carty v Michael White
James Cahill v Sean Maddocks
Mitchell Mann v Robbie Mcguigan
Peter Devlin v Lukas Kleckers
Rory McLeod v Brian Ochoiski
Fergal O’Brien v Fergal Quinn
Barry Pinches v Jamie Wilson