The best players in the world will once again descend on the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to contest the 2021 World Snooker Championship, which takes place from April 17 until May 3.
Eight months after Ronnie O'Sullivan lifted his sixth World Snooker Championship trophy, the stars of the sport are back in action at the Crucible Theatre for the biggest tournament of the season.
Spectators will be allowed into the venue and come the £500,000 final at the start of May, it is hoped that the Crucible will be at capacity, adding to the atmosphere and pressure.
Can Ronnie O'Sullivan defend his title?
Ronnie O'Sullivan has reached five ranking-tournament finals this season but has yet to lift any silverware. However, this relative barren spell will be of little concern to The Rocket heading to Sheffield - his consistency is a good sign for the challenges ahead, while the experienced 45-year-old has also shown flashes of his brilliance throughout the season.
Returning crowds will only enhance the performance of crowd favourite O'Sullivan, who remains the most popular player on the tour. Last year, O’Sullivan was flawless throughout this tournament and cruised to an 18-8 success over Kyren Wilson to match snooker legend Steve Davis' six career world titles.
The contenders: Judd Trump
World number one Judd Trump is almost £1,000,000 clear of nearest challenger O'Sullivan in the world rankings - which is unsurprising given the superb form he has been in for the last two years.
The 2019 World Snooker Champion has featured in seven ranking-tournament finals this season, winning five of them (bettering the four titles he landed last season). Trump is a danger to all and the draw has been kind to him, with the other seeds in his quarter being Dave Gilbert, Shaun Murphy, and Yan Bingtao.
In his 11 attempts in Sheffield, the 31-year-old Trump has made just two finals, but he is arguably a better player now than he was two years ago when he landed his maiden world title. He has 22 ranking tournaments to his name and will surely add to his tally of Crucible crowns in the coming seasons, and he rightly heads the betting as the man to beat this year.
The contenders: Neil Robertson
Amazingly, it has been 11 years since world number three Neil Robertson became world champion and, despite being one of the most consistent players on the tour, he has surprisingly failed to strike gold in Sheffield since that 2010 success. However, Robertson was brilliant last month at the lucrative Tour Championship and should be full of confidence.
He also won a third UK Championship in December but there are, however, questions to answer regarding his form at the biggest tournament of the season. Four times since being crowned world champion, Robertson has been beaten in the first round, while he has not made it beyond the quarter finals in the last six years.
The contenders: John Higgins
John Higgins made technical adjustments to his game earlier this season and has reaped the rewards with a run to the final of the prestigious Masters, while he won the Players Championship in February.
Higgins is a four-time world champion, has reached three of the last four finals, and knows exactly what it takes to succeed over the gruelling 17 days in Sheffield. The 45-year-old, along with Ronnie O'Sullivan and 2018 world champion Mark Williams, still remain a force and the ages of the trio should not put punters off.
What they lack in youthfulness, they more than make up for in experience, bottle and temperament. Whoever he tackles over this longer format, Higgins is a hard man to beat.