Sheffield snooker: Dott dreads defeat

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Former world champion Graeme Dott would be “devastated” if he failed to qualify for this year’s Dafabet World Championship.

The 2006 champion has to win a tough qualifying match today to make sure of his place at the Crucible (19 April – 5 May).

“You don’t want to finish the season and not be at the Crucible,” said Dott, who faces world No 90 Kyren Wilson in a best-of-19 frame showdown at Ponds Forge. I’d be devastated not to qualify, the Crucible is so special. It’s horrible I’ve got play in the qualifiers, but it’s just one of those things. It’s a high pressure match because there’s a lot at stake. But I’m ready for it.”

And Dott, who has to qualify because he’s dropped out of the top 16, is confident that there will be quite a few players who don’t want to draw him in the first round of this year’s £1.2m tournament.

“If I qualify then it makes a change that I’d be a bad draw for someone,” said Dott. “I don’t think many would like to play me, or someone like Ken Doherty or Mark Williams for instance.

“But the other side to that is that I could draw someone like Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins in the first round.”

Dott added: “If I can win my qualifying match then I genuinely don’t mind who I play in the first round.

“It’s not a bad chance to catch somebody cold, but before that I’ve got a big match to win. On my day I know I can beat anybody.”

Dott has saved some of his best form for the Crucible down the years.

And while he openly admits he’s not in peak form, the 36-year-old knows you can go to snooker’s very own ‘Theatre of Dreams’ and everything clicks together.

That happened in 2006, the only other year Dott had to win a qualifying match to make sure of his participation at the green baize game’s

blue-ribbon event.

Amazingly he went all the way and Peter Ebdon, the 2002 world champion, to claim the coveted crown.

“It seems a long time ago since I played Neil [Robertson] in the [2010] final,” admitted Dott.

“I’ve got great memories of winning the tournament [in 2006], but you never really know how you’re going to do until you get to Sheffield.

“But I definitely wouldn’t like to be at home when the tournaments on and not competing in it.

“I can understand why other players have said in the past they didn’t want to watch it on the TV if they had been knocked out or failed to qualify.

“ I think I’d do the same, it would be hard to watch because you’d want to be there. It just wouldn’t be the same.”