WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP
- Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
- Date: 21 April - 7 May
- Start times: Sessions at 1000, 1430 & 1900 BST
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC TV, HD Channel, Red Button and online
Ali Carter says his ongoing health problems will dictate his future in snooker, but he insists he is prepared for this year's World Championship.
The 32-year-old has plummeted to 17th in the world rankings following a year disrupted by Crohn's disease, the illness he has lived with for 10 years.
- Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system
- In the majority of cases it affects the small intestine or colon
- Symptoms include abdominal pain, weight loss and fatigue
His poor form led him to
suggest this could be his last year at the Crucible.
"At the time when I said that, I was seriously contemplating that," the Chelmsford-born cueman told BBC Essex.
"I'm not saying I'm not contemplating it now, but I thought to myself 'if I have a year or two off I can get my health right'.
"It's difficult to say what I'm going to do. If I can keep healthy I'll definitely keep playing."
The 2008 World Championship finalist, as high as sixth in the rankings 12 months ago, will
commence his Crucible campaign against Mark Davis,
who is ranked one position lower at 18.
"I've just struggled really. I haven't played particularly well," Carter said of his form.
"My Crohn's disease has played up a lot and prevented me from practising. I've felt really tired all the time but hopefully I'm getting on top of that now - or at least trying to.
"I've done it for the last 10 years but it's got hold of me a little bit this year. Hopefully I can put this year behind me and move forward and get back up the rankings.
Carter at the Crucible
- Lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2008 final
- 10 appearances in total
- Won 12 of 21 matches
- Highest break: 147 in 2008
- Crucible centuries: 19
"I want to start feeling a little bit better in myself and hopefully the enjoyment will come back. It's horrible when you're turning up to practise and you're not feeling very well and having to force yourself to play.
"Hopefully I can turn it into a positive at the World Championships."
Should the former two-time Welsh Open winner progress past Davis, he will face the winner of the Judd Trump and Dominic Dale match.
Last year's beaten Crucible finalist Trump enters the tournament as world number two, leading Carter to believe he can compete without pressure, should the pair meet.
"I've got no expectation on myself unlike a couple of years ago when I got to the final," he said.
"Mark Davis will be tough. If I get through, Judd Trump is going to be difficult.
"Judd's got a lot of things going for him and I won't be expected to win that game by a lot of people."