RONNIE O'SULLIVAN returned to Sheffield this week with a chance of joining Steve Davis and Ray Reardon on six world titles by winning a third successive crown at the Crucible.
Often associated with being an underachiever in his younger days, victory at the end of the 17-day marathon would give O'Sullivan's talent a more deserved standing in the snooker record books.
After all, only Stephen Hendry - who won seven world titles between 1990 and 1999 - would then have more in the modern era.
O'Sullivan, seeded number one as defending champ, began his campaign by beating Finnish qualifier Robin Hull 10-4 on the first day of competition to set up a meeting with Joe Perry in the last 16.
Looking further ahead again, O'Sullivan could play Shaun Murphy or Marco Fu in the quarter finals, but, of course, nothing is for certain in Sheffield where some big names have already dropped out.
Debutant Michael Wasley has caused the biggest stir so far, beating world number two Ding Junhui in a final frame decider.
Ding had been tipped to do well after winning five ranking events this season, the first player to achieve this feat since Hendry in 1990/91.
But his record at the Crucible remains disappointing with only one semi final and one quarter final appearance from his eight attempts.
Four-time champion John Higgins also went out at the first time of asking to compatriot Alan McManus - who, at 43, set up a golden oldie last 16 tie with 44-year-old Dubliner Ken Doherty.
Doherty, champion in 1997, rolled back the years, winning each of the last seven frames of his match to beat number six seed Stuart Bingham 10-5.
Meanwhile, Stephen Maguire was another seed who failed to make it through as, like Ding, he also lost in a final frame in which Welshman Ryan Day was the winner.
By contrast, seeds Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy survived their last frame shootouts against Michael White and Jamie Cope, respectively.
And so, at this early stage, O'Sullivan's odds with all the major bookmakers have actually shortened further so that he is already odds-on to retain his title again.
Undoubtedly, O'Sullivan will pay no heed to that - but it is often said, with some justification, that his biggest opponent is himself.
Indeed, this is something which he acknowledges in his second autobiography, Running, a title intentionally chosen as it demonstrates how athletics has become his new addiction.
Always a keen runner in his youth, O'Sullivan explains how his regular runs have replaced his previous addictions to drink and drugs, and how they have helped him cope with his troubles away from the table.
These have been numerous - most notably, though, O'Sullivan refers to his breakdown following his father's murder conviction and the painful break-up with the mother of his children.
The latter even forced O'Sullivan into a self-imposed exile immediately after his 2012 triumph - "I couldn't balance work, family and the custody battle, and work had to give".
Incredibly, when he returned after his year out, he won at the Crucible again - but he remains a troubled genius with a genuine love-hate relationship for his sport.
Matters are improving, though - and, while much of this is to do with O'Sullivan's running, it can also be attributed to his work with Dr Steve Peters which began in 2011.
O'Sullivan describes how his psychiatrist has got him on a much more even keel during his matches and tournaments - and, indeed, in life generally - with theories from his book, The Chimp Paradox.
I have not read The Chimp Paradox myself (yet!) but I understand exactly what O'Sullivan means when he explains about the brain having a rational section to it - the human - and emotional, but often highly irrational, section to it - the chimp.
Both are required to make us who we are - the emotional, irrational side can do damaging things but, without it, we would be automatons.
The key to success is to harness them both so that you can more easily accept who you are as a person.
Nevertheless, for sufferers of low self-esteem, like O'Sullivan and myself, this can be really difficult with the chimp regularly chirping ideas of self-doubt.
But, just as O'Sullivan has worked with his therapist to challenge the negative beliefs about himself, I am able more easily to do this myself - or at least find a way of coping with bouts of anxiety and the uncomfortable physical sensations which come with it.
I still get a tight chest and a lump in the throat when I am feeling anxious about something, and I still get this quite regularly for pretty irrational reasons.
However, I have much more ability to prevent this from spiralling into outright panic as it used to.
After all, I know that it is only a surge of adrenaline - and it will pass. And that, once it passes, I am almost always absolutely fine - whether I am at work or with friends or anything, really.
There is still work to be done - in terms of challenging underlying beliefs about myself so that I am more confident, look after myself better, and worry about things less generally.
I am much better than this time last year, though, when I was in a very dark place having given up this blog and been signed off work for two months with - as the doctor's note put it - "emotional exhaustion and extreme anxiety".
O'Sullivan dedicates a chapter in his book to his own various heroes - and it is fair to say that he is a snooker hero of mine.
I love watching him play and especially when he is in full flow like he was in the Masters this year, beating Ricky Walden 6-0 in one match inside an hour's playing time.
I could also watch the sheer perfection of his record fastest maximum break over and over again - and I obviously hope he can produce something like that and win again this week.
Whatever happens, though, I just hope he continues taming his chimp - and I can keep mine in check too!
FIRST ROUND Best of 19 frames
Resumes (*to a finish)
|Ronnie O'Sullivan (1)||10-4||Robin Hull|
|Joe Perry (16)||10-7||Jamie Burnett|
|Shaun Murphy (9)||10-9||Jamie Cope|
|Marco Fu (8)||10-7||Martin Gould|
|Barry Hawkins (5)||10-4||David Gilbert|
|Ricky Walden (12)||10-7||Kyren Wilson|
|Wed 19:00||Mark Davis (13)||1-5||Dominic Dale|
|Ding Junhui (4)||9-10||Michael Wasley|
|Mark Selby (3)||10-9||Michael White|
|Ali Carter (14)||10-8||Xiao Guodong|
|John Higgins (11)||7-10||Alan McManus|
|Stuart Bingham (6)||5-10||Ken Doherty|
|Judd Trump (7)||10-8||Tom Ford|
|Stephen Maguire (10)||9-10||Ryan Day|
|Mark Allen (15)||10-4||Michael Holt|
|Thu 19:00*||Neil Robertson (2)||7-2||Robbie Williams|
SECOND ROUND Best of 25 frames
|Thu 19:00||Ronnie O'Sullivan (1)||v||Joe Perry (16)|
|27-28 Apr||Shaun Murphy (9)||v||Marco Fu (8)|
|25-26 Apr||Barry Hawkins (5)||v||Ricky Walden (12)|
|26-28 Apr||Davis/Dale||v||Michael Wasley|
|Thu 13:00||Mark Selby (3)||v||Ali Carter (14)|
|25-26 Apr||Alan McManus||v||Ken Doherty|
|26-28 Apr||Judd Trump (7)||v||Ryan Day|
|27-28 Apr||Mark Allen (15)||v||Robertson/Williams|
CENTURY BREAKS (16)
137 Ricky Walden
136 Ding Junhui
135 Michael Wasley
134 Stephen Maguire
132 Neil Robertson
130 Ryan Day
124 Ronnie O'Sullivan, Marco Fu
116 Marco Fu
115 Barry Hawkins
112 Shaun Murphy
111 Jamie Burnett, John Higgins
103 Michael Wasley, Neil Robertson
102 Robin Hull