Shaun Murphy has endured a wretched season to date but with a return to snooker’s Mecca on the cards, the Magician is eyeing up a much-needed turnaround.

Form has deserted Murphy across the entire season, reaching the Scottish Open final in December but failing to pass the third round in any other ranking event.

But there’s no time like the present for the 36-year-old to break that unwanted record.

Murphy is already a world champion having lifted the trophy in 2005, the 150/1 shot becoming the first qualifier since 1979 to prevail at the Crucible.

Fourteen years on and the memories of his favourite home have not diminished, hopeful a Crucible return can be exactly what the doctor ordered.

“I’m very excited, this event is a complete standalone to all the other tour events that we have,” said Murphy, who faces Luo Honghao first up.

“This has got the history, this is our Mecca, our Wembley, our Wimbledon, even ahead of the other two majors – it’s so special, this is our Augusta.

“You see the Crucible and those excited feelings come back, the memories of winning and losing, it’s just so special and I can’t wait to get going.

“It’s been a terrible season for me so far, one to forget in honesty, I had a run to the Scottish Open final before Christmas but that’s been it – I’m certainly fresh and haven’t played too much, that’s for certain.

“There aren’t that many players who can win the tournament, this event demands things of you that others don’t.

“As a former winner and someone who has been to the final three times, I’ve shown that I’m someone who has the skills to get through to the latter stages.”

Watch the World Championship LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds