By Emily Tait
With the World Snooker Championship now upon us, defending John Higgins will be looking to retain his crown, but with the four-time champ's form dipping this season, many have called his eyesight into question and wondered whether it is finally deteriorating.
After picking up his first world crown in 1998 at the age of 22, Higgins picked up further championships in 2007, 2009 and last year, leading many – including himself - to claim that he could overhaul Stephen Hendry's record of seven world titles.
Since then, Higgins has conceded that this is unlikely to happen, but he has refused to agree that his eyesight is failing him.
When questioned by Eurosport's Desmond Kane about his chances this year, Higgins said that he is not among the favourites due to his poor form in 2012, but stated that this has nothing to do with his vision – despite some people claiming his eyesight is on the wane.
"I don't know where that is coming from. I think someone suggested to me that maybe your eyesight goes or something when you get older. I think it is still okay," he added.
Higgins begins the defence of the World Snooker Championship this weekend against China's Liang Wenbo, with a possible second round clash against Hendry, should his fellow Scotsman get past Stuart Bingham.
by Emily Tait