Snooker: White expects Crucible visit

Jimmy White will embark on what he hopes will be a lengthy run at the China Open this week, vowing to return to the Crucible later in the year.

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White is famously a six-time beaten World Championship finalist but hasn't managed to qualify for the Crucible stages of the event in the last five years.

'The Whirlwind' will return to the Sheffield venue next month to face long-term foe Stephen Hendry in a Snooker Legends event on April 13.

But he is determined to be back there less than a fortnight later than that when the World Championship begins in earnest.

White must beat Syrian Omar Alkojah in the wild-card round in Beijing to book a first-round clash with Judd Trump, but he's confident that at 49 - he's 50 on day two of the World Championship - he's in his best form for years.

He said: "I still can win any tournament and I'm in the top 48 so I only have to beat two players to get to the World Championship.

"I just still love playing and always have done so while I keep doing that I'm just going to keep enjoying it.

"I will be there. I'm playing too well not to be there.

"After that, if I can keep it going, who knows. I'm giving it plenty of time on the practice table."

White spent last weekend on business in Shanghai but was back in England on Tuesday, hard at practice on Wednesday morning, playing an exhibition on Thursday, and then packing his bags for another flight to the Far East.

A visa mix-up meant White had to pull out of the Beijing event last year, but this time he has everything in place.

While White relishes the intensity of competition, he is also a supporter of the crowd-pleasing exhibition events, and is eager to have another crack at Hendry on the Crucible stage where the Scot beat him in four finals between 1990 and 1994.

"We have a bit of fun but when we play he'll be trying to beat me, don't worry about that," White said.

White's good friend Ronnie O'Sullivan is also joining the Legends tour for a number of events this year, taking the standard of competition to a new level.

"It's phenomenal," said White. "We've had some great fun. He does lots of exhibitions with me and really enjoys it."

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