Four-time Crucible King, John Higgins is back for another bite at the Champion of Champions having lost his group semi-final last season.
The Scot hasn’t made the start to the 2014/15 season he would have liked. He made the quarter-finals of the Six Reds World Championship but otherwise the Australian Open brought his only last-16 appearance prior to the International Championship.
The 2013/14 season started in very promising fashion for Higgins as he won the Bulgarian Open European Tour event in Sofia, beating Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 in the semi-finals and Neil Robertson 4-1 in the final. He went on to reach the final of the first ranking event of the campaign, the Wuxi Classic in China, before losing 10-7 to Robertson.
However the rest of the season brought little joy for Higgins. He did reach three consecutive ranking event quarter-finals, at the Welsh Open, World Open and Players Championship, but at the World Championship he suffered a 10-7 first round defeat against Alan McManus.
Higgins won his 25th and most recent ranking title at the 2012 Shanghai Masters. He played brilliantly to come from 7-2 down and beat Judd Trump 10-9 in the final – also making a 147.
The Scot won his first World title in 1998 when he beat Ken Doherty 18-12 in the final, and his second in 2007 when he got the better of Mark Selby 18-13. His third came in 2009 when he beat the cream of the crop of snooker’s emerging talent, knocking out Jamie Cope, Selby and Mark Allen before beating Shaun Murphy 18-9 in the final. His most recent was in 2011, when inspired by an extraordinary atmosphere, he beat Judd Trump 18-15 in the final.