Snooker’s most popular player, there’s both a swagger, and a subtlety, to the defending champion’s play as he begins his quest today for a record-equalling seventh world title.
Even though the ‘Rocket’ is regarded as a veteran at the age of 45, he remains snooker – and sporting – box office for his legion of supporters watching on the BBC for the next 17 days, or those fortunate enough to obtain a ticket to attend Sheffield’s iconic view where its intimacy can create pressure like no other for players.
And it’s why there will be just as much intrigue away from the green baize, and in the auditorium, as it becomes the first major sporting event of 2021 to welcome back spectators with the tantalising possibility of a capacity crowd by the final.
Let’s hope this is the case – if it does, it means the country will also have escaped another Covid snooker.
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