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The draw and schedule for the esteemed Masters Snooker 2017, which takes place in London’s Alexandra Palace from January 15-22 are out. The world’s top 16 snooker players compete for the title, with the winning prize set at £200,000. World number 13 and defending champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan is all set to showcase his best in the quest for a record-breaking seventh Masters title. He is set play against China’s Liang Wenbo in the first round on Sunday.

41-year-old O’Sullivan has come up with an innovative mind-set this year, where his main focus is ‘to deliver entertainment to his fans’, rather than winning the title.  “I want to try to win playing an exciting, aggressive and attacking game,” O’sullivan told BBC Sport. “It is ok to win, but I want to win with style,” he added.

The Masters, which makes up snooker’s Triple Crown, is the second longest running snooker event. However, there are no ranking points on offer as it remains a purely invitational tournament. Ronnie is considered to be everyone’s favourite, followed by world champion Mark Selby, who defeated ‘The Rocket’ in the finals of the UK Championship. John Higgins has been in quite good form this season and is the dark horse ahead of Judd Trump and Ding Junhui.

“I still want to win tournaments – but for me it is about people coming to watch, people switching on their televisions wanting to see good entertainment,” said O’Sullivan.

The Englishman said he is looking forward to becoming the Lionel Messi of Snooker. “Sometimes people say you can’t play like that and win. Well, Michael van Gerwen has proved to everyone that you can, Lionel Messi proves you can, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer all of them prove you can. I want to try to be one of them.”

The defending champion seems to be quite confident and satisfied with his form and fitness, after persevering through a tough start to the season owing to a back injury.

When asked about his opinion about the Masters, O’Sullivan said that it’s the easiest to win because you are playing against the best players of the world. “You know what they will do and what they will bring to the table; you know what their best game is like, what their worst game is like and what their middle game is like. You know everything about their games.”

We are sure to see a phenomenal Masters this season, with each one of the world’s best snooker players geared up to amaze their fans with some classic and innovative shots.

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