Mark Allen is in upbeat form as he begins his quest to land snooker’s biggest prize.
The Antrim star begins his World Championship campaign this afternoon (Tuesday) when he takes on Englishman Mitchell Mann, who will be making his debut at the iconic Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Allen, 30, is now seventh in the world rankings following his recent victory at the Players Championship.
“It’s exciting times and on the back of a good win, I’m confident going into it this year,” said Mark.
“Any big win is great for the confidence - and better for the bank balance!
“My form has been half-decent without being spectacular - getting a good win like that when I wasn’t quite at my best was another feather in my cap.
“But I’ll need to put everything right in Sheffield - you can’t go there with a ‘B’ game and expect to compete with the best players in the world over a longer distance.
“In the last few years I’ve been back working harder than what I was - I’ve been practising very, very hard even since winning that tournament and I’ve had work done on my cue and I feel a lot more comfortable with it,” added Mark.