The 2021/22 snooker season was only recently signed into the record books, but focus is already turning to the new campaign.
Eyes are already drawn to the World Championship, with many wondering whether Ronnie O’Sullivan will defend the crown to secure a record eighth title. But there’s a lot of snooker to be played before the title is handed out on May 1.
O’Sullivan is already plotting a bit of practice with some exhibition events in Singapore but for others the focus will be on the opening event of the season - the Championship League which gets underway on June 28.
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It is not to everyone’s taste, but the Championship League is a ranking event and as such is a key focus for many players who are a little further down the ranking list.
Between the Championship League and World Championship there is an expanded schedule with increased prize money, and the key dates are below.
European Masters, August 16-21
The first snooker tournament of the season will take place in Germany, where Fan Zhengyi will look to defend the title he won in Milton Keynes.
British Open, September 26 to October 2
The British Open returned to the calendar last season after a 17-year absence. Mark Williams won the title despite playing some pretty ropey snooker at times. He will be back in Milton Keynes to defend the crown.
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Northern Ireland Open, October 16-23
The first of the Home Nations Series takes place in Belfast in October. Mark Allen was an emotional winner last season and will have his sights trained on mounting a strong defence.
Champion of Champions, October 31 to November 6
There won’t be ranking points on offer, but there will be a lot of interest as it features winners of events in the previous campaign. As such, the likes of defending champion Judd Trump, O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Williams will be battling it out for a huge chunk of prize money.
UK Championship, November 12-20
The season cranks up a gear in November with the first of the Triple Crown series. The format has been tweaked for 2022, with the top 16 in the world automatically securing entry into the last 32 - mirroring the format for the World Championship. It is always a favourite on the calendar, with York's Barbican welcoming Zhao Xintong as the defending champion.
Scottish Open, November 28 to December 4
Luca Brecel shook off a defeat to Xintong in the UK Championship final to get his hands on the Scottish Open, and will look to show his quality once again.
English Open December 12-18
The year will draw to a close for many with a tilt at a Home Nations Series event in Brentwood. Event organisers will hope for a similar story to Neil Robertson’s epic win over John Higgins in 2021.
The Masters, January 8-15
Those who are not keen on noise may be advised to bring some ear plugs, as the atmosphere at the Alexandra Palace is sure to be something special when Robertson sets about defending his title.
World Championship, April 15 to May 1
There are still dates to be finalised for events such as the Turkish Masters and German Masters, but the World Championship has been confirmed, and as defending champion, O’Sullivan will kick things off on April 15.
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