2021 Crucible Draw and format

In case you missed the draw you can watch it on the WST YouTube Channel

And here is the result:


and WST announcement:

2021 Betfred World Championship – The Draw

The draw for the 2021 Betfred World Championship has been made with World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan being pitted against Crucible debutant Mark Joyce.

The Rocket will step out on Saturday morning at 10am to begin his 2021 campaign against world number 46 Joyce, who will be appearing at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time in his career after 15 years as a professional.

World number one Judd Trump has been drawn against Liam Highfield, who made his Crucible debut in 2018. Trump, the 2019 World Champion, has notched up five ranking titles this season. Highfield beat world number 17 Zhou Yuelong in the final round of this year’s qualifying event.

Asian number one Ding Junhui has been been handed a mouth-watering opening round tie against 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham.

Mark Williams, who picked up his third Crucible crown in 2018, is up against debutant Sam Craigie in round one, while last year’s runner-up Kyren Wilsonfaces former semi-finalist Gary Wilson.

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Mark Joyce

Anthony McGill (16) v Ricky Walden

Ding Junhui (9) v Stuart Bingham

Stephen Maguire (8) v Jamie Jones


John Higgins (5) v Tian Pengfei

Mark Williams (12) v Sam Craigie

Mark Allen (13) v Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (4) v Kurt Maflin


Neil Robertson (3) v Liang Wenbo

Jack Lisowski (14) v Ali Carter

Barry Hawkins (11) v Matthew Selt

Kyren Wilson (6) v Gary Wilson


Shaun Murphy (7) v Mark Davis

Yan Bingtao (10) v Martin Gould

David Gilbert (15) v Chris Wakelin

Judd Trump (2) v Liam Highfield

Click here for the format of play and for details of how to buy tickets click here. The main event runs from April 17 to May 3 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Ronnie has a reasonably good draw, and, if he gets past the ever tricky first round will probably be able to build himself into form if needed. There are however no easy matches at the Crucible.

Ding has been served a brutal first round match, and, from what we saw in the qualifiers, Stuart Bingham has to be favourite to win this one.

Jack Lisowski is also up against it, having to beat the in-form Ali Carter in the last 32.

John Parrott mentions during the draw that if Ronnie is not ready to dig deep he will not win it. I’m not sure it’s that simple. Ronnie has tried in every match this season. He might not be ready to allow anyone to dictate the style of the match though, even if that means taking risks. This is what he did in the semi finals last year.

He has been reflecting on this match:

Ronnie O’Sullivan calls Mark Selby a ‘bad loser’ ahead of World Championship

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

“It sounded like he was a bit of a bad loser really. He didn’t really take it well.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan has described Mark Selby as a “bad loser” following last year’s World Championship semi-final defeat to O’Sullivan.

‘The Rocket’ won a deciding frame shootout, having been 14-16 down, to win 17-16 and advance to the final. He went on to clinch his sixth World Championship, and first since 2013.

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

Mark Selby.

However, after the game, Selby accused his opponent of being “disrespectful” by the way he was playing early on in that semi-final.

“I felt like it was a little bit disrespectful the way he played,” Selby told BBC Sport back in August.

“Every time I got him in a snooker he just went down and hit the ball at 100mph and it could have gone anywhere.

“Whether he was just in that frame of mind but felt it was a little disrespectful for me at the table.”

Ahead of this year’s World Championship, which begins at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield this weekend, O’Sullivan has described Selby as a “bad loser” and admitted that the incident has affected their relationship.

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

I didn’t realise that result had affected him as much as it had,” O’Sullivan told Sporting Life.

Sometimes you can want something too bad, and then it’s hard to brush off a defeat, let alone a defeat how he felt like he was defeated.

“After listening to his after match interview, it sounded like he was a bit of a bad loser really. He didn’t really take it well.

“I was a bit surprised. I thought he would have given me a bit more credit for hanging in there and playing three amazing frames at the end and getting the victory. It seems he didn’t take it in that spirit.

“That’s for him to get over. It doesn’t seem like he’s able to get over it really. They can be tough matches, I’ve had one or two of them in my career. They linger on for a bit. Hopefully, he gets his head around it and moves on from it.”

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

Ronnie O’Sullivan comeback.

The 45-year-old was asked whether it was the way he had fought back during that semi-final that had rattled Selby.

Oh yeah. A hundred per cent. I didn’t realise at the time because obviously you’re on such a high and you’ve won,” O’Sullivan replied.

But actually, if you were to sit down and listen to his interview and listen to some of the things he’s said, you’d have to go that’s coming from somewhere. It’s obviously bothered him to a certain extent.

“Listen, it would bother me I think, if I had one hand on the trophy, and all of a sudden someone has just come along and taken it away from you.

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

It’s not an easy one to get over, but until he gets over it and it’s properly put to bed, it’s a little bit difficult. I suppose it has changed the relationship in many ways because it’s affected him.

I’d rather he’d won, been happy, and he would have been in a good place. Until he gets himself through that, I don’t know. It’s something he needs to get over for him to move on.

He would know how it feels, because he’s been there himself after losing to Selby in the 2014 World Final. It took him a very long time to get over it. It’s interesting, and endearing, that he derives no satisfaction whatsoever from seeing his rival in the same position, quite the opposite.

Also, snooker and winning at snooker are no more matters of life or death for him. In this context Ronnie spoke to Phil Haigh explaining how he has evolved from being only a snooker player to being a more complete person:

It was pretty foolish of me to think ‘I’m Ronnie O’Sullivan, snooker player.’ That’s not it

gettyimages-Ronnie enters the arenaRonnie O’Sullivan is heading back to the Crucible as world champion and much more (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has plenty on his mind outside of snooker as he prepares to defend his World Championship title in Sheffield, but he wouldn’t have it any other way as he continues to diversify his interests away from the baize.

The Rocket is hoping to win a seventh world title this year, equalling Stephen Hendry’s record in the process, and cement his place as the greatest player of all time.

He is working hard to achieve that goal, playing in the majority of events this season, reaching five ranking finals and is putting in the practice ahead of his latest trip to the Crucible.

The 45-year-old is not just focussing on his world title campaign, which will start on Saturday morning in South Yorkshire, though.

He has opened his own shop in Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Centre and announced a new global ambassadorial with Rokit, while also competing in cross country races in his spare time.

It’s a busy time for O’Sullivan, in a point of the season when most players have all their attention on Sheffield, he is glad that he doesn’t as he endeavours to keep snooker one of a wide range of interests in his life.

‘It was pretty foolish of me to think, “I’m Ronnie O’Sullivan – snooker player.” That’s not it,’ Ronnie told Metro.co.uk.

‘I had to open myself up to other opportunities and let people know. It was interesting, a lot of people said, “I wouldn’t have thought you’d want to get involved in it.

But I’m like, “no no no, of course!” Five 10 years ago I wasn’t but I’ve realised that was to my own detriment. Just through conversations you realise there’s a lot of things I can do.

My problem now is not saying “yes” to everything or else I don’t do them properly, because you’ve got too much going on. I’m trying to manage expectations now, I’m happy to do stuff but there’s only so much I can give and if that’s fine, great, if not then it’s not going to work.

People may have been surprised that O’Sullivan was interested in working with them, but Ronnie says misconceptions about him have long been a problem.

The Rocket has never been afraid to speak his mind or filter what he says in public, giving off a certain impression, but he says that opinions of him change after time in his company.

O’Sullivan explained: ‘I think there’s a perception of me and when people get to know me they say: “That’s not how I expected you to be.

‘That’s because I haven’t been media trained, for one, or had a crisis management team in there to put right something that portrayed me in the wrong way, but I was never really bothered about that.

‘It was water off a duck’s back in many ways. I never read the papers, I was so focused on what I wanted to do that it never bothered me.

‘I understand nowadays a lot of stuff on social media it can get to players, bullying online, but for me I was so focused on the job in hand that I never focused on what anyone was saying or thought about me because I was so focused on what I had to do.

‘In a way I blocked it out which was a good thing in one way but maybe I could have managed the media side a bit better, but you just do what you think’s right at the time.’

On the suggestion that his filter-free comments are what draws many fans to him, Ronnie said: ‘Possibly, I think I’ve got a good relationship with the snooker fans and people that come to watch me. It’s alright.’

O’Sullivan says his idea to try and become much more than a snooker player came from his year away from the sport in 2012/13, when he took the entire season off between winning his fourth and fifth world titles.

He realised that he wanted to play the game and also that he needed other options if snooker was ever unavailable to him in future.

I had to make the choice because I didn’t like the idea of not playing snooker and that being it,’ said O’Sullivan.

I had a year out and didn’t really have anything to fall back on. I don’t really want to be in that situation again, it taught me a lesson to look a bit ahead.

‘Develop a life without snooker, add a bit of snooker in there and I’ve got the best of both worlds. I’ve had to work hard to get that, it doesn’t happen overnight but now I’m able to go out there and swing freely.

‘Some players might look forward to the end of the career and happy living a quiet life. Other people might not and feel like they’re in a midlife crisis not knowing what to do with their time.

Ronnie 6th WC
O’Sullivan beat Kyren Wilson to claim a sixth world title last August (Picture: PA)

That’s why I had to educate myself. If you’re aware of your situation and what you want to do in your life you’ll always seek out what you need to seek out. For me the timing was right, I looked around and thought, “this can’t be the only option.”

‘You look into other things, opportunities arise and once people know that you’re interested then there’s a lot of people that want to work with you.

The Rocket has gone down a few avenues already, writing novels, a cookbook, talking of running care homes and works with homeless charities.

His shop is his most recent venture, but he would not confirm what’s next for him, other than to say we should expect plenty.

There’s some things I can’t talk about because they’re yet to happen but there are a couple of exciting things going to come off,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of planning going on, so obviously nothing I can say, but a few exciting projects coming along.’

As for his chance of success in Sheffield again, he knows he will have to improve on the form that has seen him fail to win a title since his Crucible triumph last season, but also knows he is well capable of doing just that.

I’ll have to play better than I have done all season because Sheffield is a different tournament,’ he said. ‘Longer matches, often it’s not about being brilliant it’s about being steady and solid.

‘If I can find something and carry that through to Sheffield then who knows? If I don’t then I’m not going to detract from having a good year, I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been good fun.’

O’Sullivan will begin the defence of his title on the opening day of the tournament on Saturday 17 April.

Ronni has indeed opened a shop in Meadow Hall near Sheffield and has shared a few pictures and a short video

Having other projects might be a distraction, but it might also ease the pressure as snooker is no more all and everything in his life.



2 thoughts on “2021 Crucible Draw and format

  1. Well, I won’t count the chickens etc. because there were some horror matches Ronnie lost when not expected to do so, but I am certainly relieved he has not drawn Carter or Bingham for the first round. I think a lot was made of him saying he did not exert himself too much in some of the finals he lost, because why lose 10-8, when you can lose 10-4, but I did not have the feeling he did not try in those matches, he did not play well in them and he will have to play better, but I did not feel it was for the lack of trying (the Higgins-match maybe, it felt he went there defeated already, ever so grateful for that Tour-victory over Higgins since then).

    But maybe someone who knows the game and the players better than me, will be able to explain why the draw-commentary people talked as it were the mother of all draws in general and tougher than draws ever (at least that’s how they sounded to me) besides the fact that it is their job to big up the event.

    Oh, Selby… I understand that Ronnie would feel a little peeved “I was a bit surprised. I thought he would have given me a bit more credit for hanging in there and playing three amazing frames at the end and getting the victory. It seems he didn’t take it in that spirit”, because he always goes out of his way to compliment an opponent who beats him. It’s nice, that he does not derive extra satisfaction from the fact how badly Selby is affected but he can get a lot pride from the way he played and won. It has been said a few times here that it is problematic to shove the mike under the nose of a player who has just lost, especially if he lost a match everyone, including him, thought he won, but it is still on the player himself: Barry Hawkins was equally distraught losing the semis of the Tour to Ronnie after he all but won it, but no BS came out of him. However, what I find interesting, even sad, is that Ronnie says it has affected their relationship, even today.

    I’m always afraid how much distraction the other projects might be, but it seems Ronnie has a better attitude towards this tournament now that the previous years.

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