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Page last updated at 19:43 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Jimmy White buoyant ahead of Wembley return in Masters

The Masters 2010
Venue: Wembley Arena, London Dates: 10-17 January
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website

Jimmy White
White won his only Masters title 26 years ago

Jimmy White believes he can seize his wildcard chance and produce some more Masters magic on Sunday when he returns to the Wembley stage against Mark King.

The 47-year-old has fallen to 56 in the rankings but is buoyant after winning his first titles since 2004 recently.

"I am really looking forward to it," he told BBC 5 live. "Mark is tough to beat but if I produce anything like I have been playing, I have got every chance."

Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has a tough opening match against Neil Robertson.

The world number one, who has been practising with a new purple cue, faces the provisional world number three on Tuesday as he targets a third Masters title in four years and fifth in all.


"I'm not a buyer of that philosophy that the cue is the be-all and end-all," he said. "I used to be because I got so attached to one cue that I couldn't do without it.

"If you start relying on equipment to dictate how you play then you become attached to it and that is a weakness."

A year ago he beat Mark Selby 10-8 in the final, a feat he described as his "greatest achievement", coming a week after smashing his World Championship-winning cue before his opening match.

Selby opens the tournament on Sunday against Ding Junhui, recent winner of the UK Championship, in the best-of-11 frame matches.

Marco Fu faces Peter Ebdon in the other opening-day match, with the winner facing O'Sullivan or Robertson in the quarter-finals.

Other highlights see Shaun Murphy face six-time champion Stephen Hendry, and John Higgins face Mark Allen, who he beat 17-13 in last year's World Championship semi-finals.

Rory McLeod, who won the Masters qualifying tournament, makes his tournament debut against Mark Williams on Monday, with the winner facing Ali Carter.

But the Wembley Arena will be abuzz on Sunday evening when "The Whirlwind" returns to the tournament where he has thrilled his partisan fans down the years.

I will appreciate the support but my goal is to play good snooker and win the match

Jimmy White

Despite his lowly world ranking, the Londoner believes he deserves his wildcard into the event, having reached four non-ranking finals and won two of them this season.

"I won the [six-red] World Grand Prix in Thailand [beating Shaun Murphy, Ricky Walden, King, Mark Williams and Barry Hawkins] and every professional was there except for Ronnie O'Sullivan," he told BBC 5 live.

"I also won the World Series of Snooker in Prague [in October] where I beat John Higgins, the world champion, so if that doesn't give me my wildcard, I don't know what does.

"It will be great to be back at Wembley but I won't be focusing on the crowd. I will appreciate the support but my goal is to play good snooker and win the match."

If White, who has lost a stone in weight after his recent appearance on the reality TV series I'm A Celebrity in the Australian jungle, beats King, he will face Scot Stephen Maguire in the second round, with Ryan Day or Joe Perry awaiting the winner in the quarter-finals.

Masters first round:

Mark Williams (Wal) v Rory McLeod (Eng)
Mark King (Eng) v Jimmy White (Eng)

Masters second round:

Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) v Neil Robertson (Aus)
Marco Fu (HK) v Peter Ebdon (Eng)
Allister Carter (Eng) v Williams/McLeod
Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Stephen Hendry (Sco)
Stephen Maguire (Sco) v King/White
Ryan Day (Wal) v Joe Perry (Eng)
Mark Selby (Eng) v Ding Junhui (Chi)
John Higgins (Sco) v Mark Allen (NI)

Masters quarter-finals:

O'Sullivan/Robertson v Fu/Ebdon
Carter/Williams/McLeod v Murphy/Hendry
Maguire/White/King v Day/Perry
Selby/Junhui v Higgins/Allen

Print Sponsor

see also
Masters 2010 - Full results
16 Jan 10 |  Snooker
I deserve Masters wildcard - White
07 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Snooker secures Masters sponsor
07 Jan 10 |  Snooker
TV show helps White preparation
24 Dec 09 |  Snooker
White given wildcard into Masters
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Ding defeats Higgins in UK final
14 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Hearn confirmed as snooker chief
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan reclaims Masters crown
19 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker

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