Ronnie in for the long-haul
Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan is preparing for a marathon run at the World Snooker Championship, starting with his match against Mark Joyce.
O'Sullivan begins his defence against debutant Joyce in round one of the competition at the Crucible on Saturday.
A lot of things have got to come right over that 17 days.Ronnie O'Sullivan
The 45-year-old is chasing a record-equalling seventh Sheffield crown but is still to win this season, reaching five ranking finals without success.
Joyce is a major underdog for Saturday's meeting on the green baize but he can take some optimism from his 5-4 victory over O'Sullivan in round two of the China Open in 2017.
Having been there and done it in the past, including last year, the Rocket admits that maintaining a high level over the course of 17 days can prove extremely difficult and isn't getting ahead of himself.
O'Sullivan said: "It becomes like the Ironman. There is a lot that can go wrong for you. You eat a bad meal in the semi-finals, you feel a bit ill and that's your chances gone.
"A lot of things have got to come right over that 17 days. Over a week, there is less chance of anything going wrong. It is rapid matches, bang, bang, bang, and its over.
"The Crucible is different. You are pushing on for three weeks so you have to manage yourself well."
O'Sullivan can be backed at?7/2 to win the competition with 2019 winner Judd Trump, who takes on Liam Highfield on Tuesday, priced at?13/5 to go all the way, while Neil Robertson is available at 5/1?in the outright market.