1986 – Made his first century break when he was just 10.
1992 – Turned professional at 16.
1993 – Became the youngest player ever to win a ranking tournament aged 17.
1995 – When he was 19, both his parents were in jail.
1996 – Controversially played left-handed against Alain Robindoux.
1997 – Recorded the fastest ever 147 (5 mins 20 seconds)
2001 – Is a four time World Champion (2001, 2004, 2008, 2012).
2012 – Announced he was taking a break from snooker in November 2012.
2013 – Described his return to the Crucible as being ‘like my own reality TV show’.
- 6 The Number of Finals Lost by Jimmy White.
- 10 How many 147 maximum breaks there has been in the televised stages of the World Championship.
- 12 The number of finals won by Scottish players in the last 23 World Championships.
- 18 The number of frames needed to win the final.
- 21 Stephen Hendry’s age when he beat Jimmy White to win in 1990.
- 22 The number of balls on the table at the start of a game.
- 155 A maximum break of this CAN theoretically be achieved.
- 980 The seating capacity of the Crucible Theatre.
- 4,600 The number of pounds first-round losers will earn this year – more than Ray Reardon picked up for winning in 1975.
- 18.5 million the TW audience who watched Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis on the final black in 1985 final. (Neither Steve Davis nor the BBC have let us forget this.)
Who’s in that dickie bow?
- Mark Selby
The World No 1 ‘Jester from Leicester’ missed an easy black which cost him a £23,500 bonus for a 147 maximum break in China last month.
- Judd Trump
‘Mr Haircut 100’ won the UK Championship two years ago and says he wants ‘to destroy’ his opponents.
- Stephen Maguire
The fiery Scot, a double Crucible semi-finalist, once said he wanted to be the world champion by the time he was 30 – He’s now 32.
- Neil Robertson
The 2010 champion loves the cameras. The Aussie set a remarkable record of 11 wins from 15 televised finals.
- Peter Ebdon
The 2002 champion does a Tim Henman-style fist pump to gee himself up, but he warned, ‘Ebbo’ is colour blind!
- Mark Davis
He’d be the fourth champion with that surname. The other three have won a combined 24 titles.
Stranger than Fiction
Man-made snooker balls in the 1920s contained elements of gunpowder and could explode at inconvenient moments.
No player has successfully defended his first tile in Sheffield a fact known as the ‘Crucible curse’.
Stephen Hendry managed to win the World Championship in 1994 depite a broken arm.
Snooker Loopy – Celebrity fans who will be following the world championships.
- Shane Filan
Westlife pop star. Has fewer groupies now than Peter Ebdon.
- Ricky Hatton
Boxer. Has a different interpretation of a ‘big break’.
- Ronnie Wood
Rolling Stones guitarist. Hung around with Joe and Fred Davis in the 1920s.
A “Potted” History
- The first championship was in 1927 when matches were held at various venues and the final at Camkin’s Hall, Birmingham.
- In 1977 the World Championships moved to The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
- Joe Davis won the first event when prize money was just over £6.
- Only two players have successfully defended the World Championship at the Crucible; Steve Davis in 1984, 1988 and 1989, and Stephen Hendry from 1993 to 1996.
Infographic by BetVictor.