Xiao Guodong will today become the 189th player to compete at the Crucible since the World Championship moved there in 1977.
The Chinese, who finished runner-up to his compatriot Ding Junhui in the Shanghai Masters last September, takes on Ali Carter in what promises to be one of the best matches of the first round.
Xiao will be wearing his distinctive shiny silver shoes, which he says cost him £400. “I just like shopping. I like to buy nice things, they make me feel better,” he said.
He follows in the tradition of famous snooker shoe-wearers, led by Joe Johnson in 1986. We were hoping Xiao would draw Judd Trump, himself known for his fancy footwear, so that we could bill the match as a ‘shoe-down’. All is not lost – they could meet in the semi-finals.