Craig Steadman will be O’Sullivan’s first round opponent, with defending champion Mark Selby facing Kurt Maflin
The draw for the World Snooker Championship has been made, with several tasty matches being served up in the first round of the tournament.
Mark Selby will start his title defence against Kurt Maflin, the Norwegian who beat Steve Davis in qualifying en route to the tournament proper.
Meanwhile, Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Crucible rookie Craig Steadman for what should be a captivating encounter.
Steadman, like all the other qualifiers, won three best-of-19 matches to reach the Crucible and he’ll be determined to give a good account of himself against the Rocket.
Matthew Stevens also made it to the tournament proper and he’s involved in an all-Welsh affair against Mark Williams, while Ding Junhui has also been handed a tough draw against Mark Davis.
This year’s World Championship looks to be a wide open affair, with O’Sullivan unpredictable, while Selby will hope to avoid the Crucible curse of the returning champion.
There are several other returning world champions in Sheffield, with Shaun Murphy up against Robin Hull, while Neil Robertson squares off against Jamie Jones for a place in the second round.
John Higgins will meet Robert Milkins, with Graeme Dott back at the Crucible after coming through qualifying and he will be a tough match for Ricky Walden.
O’Sullivan is the favourite to win the 2015 World Championship although he will be handed several tough matches including the possibility of Steadman pushing him close in qualifying.
2015 World Snooker Championship draw
Mark Selby vs Kurt Maflin
Stephen Maguire vs Anthony McGill
Joe Perry vs Zhang Anda
Shaun Murphy vs Robin Hull
Barry Hawkins vs Matthew Selt
Mark Allen vs Ryan Day
Ali Carter vs Alan McManus
Neil Robertson vs Jamie Jones
Ding Junhui vs Mark Davis
John Higgins vs Robert Milkins
Marco Fu vs Jimmy Robertson
Judd Trump vs Stuart Carrington
Ricky Walden vs Graeme Dott
Stuart Bingham vs Robbie Williams
Mark Williams vs Matthew Stevens
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Craig Steadman