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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 16:08 GMT
Players support Hunter on return
By Chris Charles

Paul Hunter with 2004 Masters title
Fellow players are rallying around to give Paul Hunter their support as the three-times winner makes an emotional return to the Masters on Sunday.

Hunter plays Mark Williams in his first visit to Wembley since being diagnosed with cancer last year.

Former champion Jimmy White told BBC Sport: "All the players were devastated when we heard the news about Paul.

"He is a great player and a fantastic bloke and we are all right behind him."

Hunter was diagnosed with colon cancer in April last year - less than two months after losing to Steve Davis in the Masters, where he had been defending his title.

He recently made his comeback in this year's UK Championship, losing to eventual winner Ding Junhui, but was clearly not at his best as he continues to have chemotherapy.

White, who won the Masters in 1984 and successfully fought testicular cancer a decade later, said: "I was having a coffee in London with my mate when Paul was diagnosed.

Jimmy White
White is giving Hunter his support

"He's a good friend of mine and I've been in touch as much as I can but sometimes when people aren't very well you've got to give them a bit of space.

"I was proud of Paul playing in the UK Championship, but in my opinion I don't think he should have done, because he obviously wasn't prepared.

"But things are looking up - so please, God, everything will be OK."

World champion Shaun Murphy added: "The rest of the players have given Paul and his family plenty of love and support.

"We trying to show him we care for him and that we're more than just snooker players. It's made us all look at what's really important."

Hunter is diagnosed with cancer
06 Apr 05 |  Snooker

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