Reigning champion Judd Trump (7/4 to win Masters) is confident he can mount a serious defence of his Masters title at Alexandra Palace this week.
The Juddernaut was in imperious form as he claimed his first Masters title 12 months ago by thrashing Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-4 in the final.
That success also acted as a springboard for Trump for the rest of the season, culminating in his maiden World Championship triumph, and he has continued in the same manner this term by winning three ranking-event titles already.
Trump will now be hoping to enjoy another successful week at the Masters, as he prepares to get his title defence underway with a first-round match against fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy on Tuesday afternoon (Match Result – Trump 1/3, Murphy 12/5).
“I always go to the Masters knowing I’m going to play well,” Trump told the BBC.
“Last year I managed to play my best snooker throughout the tournament and the way I beat Ronnie in the final gave me the confidence to go on and achieve bigger things.
“But I am very confident whenever I play – and whoever I play.”
Tuesday night’s other first-round match is between two-time former champion John Higgins and Barry Hawkins, who reached the final back in 2016 (Match Result – Higgins 4/7, Hawkins 11/8).
Monday night will see 2018 champion Mark Allen get his campaign underway against David Gilbert, who will be making his debut at the tournament off the back of a breakthrough 2019 that saw him reach the last four at the Crucible and the final of October’s English Open (Match Result – Allen 4/7, Gilbert 11/8).