Neil Robertson will begin the defence of his Betfred.com World Snooker Championship title against Judd Trump at the Sheffield Crucible on April 16.
The random draw for the first round of snooker’s biggest tournament paired the Australian against the 21-year-old from Bristol and Robertson knows it will be far from easy.
“It’s a tough draw because Judd is a very dangerous player,” said the 29-year-old. “He only plays one way, and that’s to attack. He scores heavily.
“But I’d rather play him than someone who takes a long time over shots. You know what type of game you’re going to get. I could have had an easier draw but I could have had a tougher one too.”
Robertson will be aiming to break the ‘Curse of the Crucible’ by becoming the only first-time champion to retain the title the following year. “I don’t feel any pressure because of that,” said the left-hander who beat Graeme Dott 18-13 in last year’s final.
“There have been so many great players who have won it for the first time and then gone out early the next year - like Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams - so in a way there’s not that much expectation on me.
“I would feel more pressure if some of those guys had defended the title at the first attempt.
“I’ve already won a big tournament this season (the 12BET.com World Open) so I can go to the Crucible and enjoy it.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan was handed an opening tie against Dominic Dale, while Welshmen Mark Williams and Ryan Day will go head to head.
John Higgins has a tough draw against Stephen Lee and legend Stephen Hendry will be up against Joe Perry. Crucible debutant Jimmy Robertson will face Mark Selby.
The Championship runs from April 16 to May 2 and offers a top prize of £250,000.
For ticket details call 0844 6565 147 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/world
lFirst round draw: Neil Robertson v Judd Trump; Marco Fu v Martin Gould; Graeme Dott v Mark King; Ali Carter v Dave Harold; Ding Junhui v Jamie Burnett; Peter Ebdon v Stuart Bingham; Stephen Hendry v Joe Perry; Mark Selby v Jimmy Robertson; Mark Williams v Ryan Day; Jamie Cope v Andrew Pagett; Mark Allen v Matthew Stevens; Stephen Maguire v Barry Hawkins; Shaun Murphy v Marcus Campbell; Ronnie O’Sullivan v Dominic Dale; Ricky Walden v Rory McLoed; John Higgins v Stephen Lee.