He's not had the greatest season but is ready to have another crack at the top prize in the game. Here's what he had to say last week at the tournament press launch....
|Picture by Monique Limbos|
"I can't wait to get down there and play again.
"The atmosphere in the final against Judd Trump last year was the best I've ever played in in my life. It's an atmosphere I'd love to get back to again. I'll be trying my best.
"This year has not been anywhere near good enough but I know the reasons why. It's up to myself to rectify that. I've been to the World Championship before not feeling that good and managed to win and last year I went there with people expecting me to do well and holding it together. I've done it from both ends. Going to win it this year would be amazing.
"If I win my first game at the Crucible it could all change. It's a very important one. If you get through it, you feel like you're in the tournament and things can start to happen for you.
"I've kicked off the tournament three times before as defending champion. It's the most nerve-wracking experience you've got as a snooker player. You don't feel pressure like it and I'm sure it will be the same again.
"Every time you win the World Championship it's the most special one. Last year was a special moment for different reasons but I don't think you can differentiate between any of them because they're all great achievements. To win it four times is probably beyond my wildest dreams when I turned to be a professional snooker player.
"To win it a fifth time and get closer to players like Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry would be amazing but it will tough as always.
"I've probably not strung a week of practice together all year until the build-up to this tournament. I've always been a big believer that you only get out life what you put in and I've got out of this season what I've deserved. It's only me that can put it right. I'm going to be a different player next season. I'll definitely be competing better.
"I'm excited for the World Championship. I know if you go to the Crucible and play well, it's the best place in the world to play. It's a great event."