Reanne Evans is relishing being one half of snooker’s Dream Team with Ronnie O’Sullivan at next month’s world mixed doubles championship.
The 36-year-old from Dudley is a record 12-times winner of the women’s singles world title.
Meanwhile the Rocket equalled Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world championship wins at the Crucible earlier this year - making it just the 19 in all between them.
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And they have been paired together for the event at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes that also includes the rest of the top four in the world on either side.
Evans has spent plenty of time with the 46-year-old O’Sullivan going on the road for the Legends exhibition circuit.
And she is certain the men in the field – also featuring Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby – will not be taking any liberties and going all out to win.
Evans, a huge tennis fan, has noted that women are not treated any differently in the mixed doubles there with huge serves and crushing ground strokes fired straight at them.
And she is expecting the same in the snooker. Evans said: “Listen, we may all have played it fairly cool before the draw – but who doesn’t want to play with the greatest?
“I am lucky in that I have done it on the Legends tour before, but of course everyone wants to be in partnership with Ronnie at some point in their career.
“So I feel like I am the lucky one and on paper we are probably the dream team and the best two by the statistics…but there some others that can hold a cue out there in this event.
“I still have to pinch myself sometimes that I am ‘snooker friends’ with Ronnie and get to travel with him and see him, play against him at these Legends events.
“Not many people have that chance and I still catch myself thinking ‘that’s me playing Ronnie in front of a big crowd’ at some huge venue like Ally Pally. It is immense.
“And he is a great guy, a lovely guy. He has a really kind heart, and is very funny and relaxed and chilled when he does the Legends. He just loves performing
“He doesn’t like the big crowds so much when they all want selfies and autographs and I can understand why you might get fed yup of that occasionally.
“It is constant, but he does love the fans. He really relishes the more relaxed environment and so hopefully this will allow that. We want to have a laugh, knowing each other a bit – but also we want to win.
“In tennis when you watch mixed doubles nowadays there is no going easy on the women players from the men, not at all. They are expected to hold their own.
“And I think it will be the same here, I will be expected to deliver – maybe even more, because you could have Neil Robertson after you and could get really punished straight away.
“The women players are in there with the very best in the world, so of course there is pressure to perform. I just want to get my teeth into it, and we can all hold our own on our day.
“You just need to trust your partner and have their trust and confidence. I’m not sure if the rules allow conferring between shots, so we’ll have to see on that one.
“For me the other ones to watch are Mink [Nutcharut] and Neil Robertson, they could be decent and a strong team. He is a big supporter of women’s snooker.
“We did win a mixed doubles event together before and my shoulders are still hurting from carrying Neil up to the final. But Robertson like to do everything he is in to a very high level.
“And Mink is the current world champion and will see this as a great opportunity to grasp and is enjoying everything.”
Evans has made a couple of tweaks to her practice regime – playing less on her own now, and also working in some sun-bathing in between to take advantage of the good weather.
She added: “I love the weather so it guts to be in the snooker room when the sun is shining, there is no two ways about that. So I am trying to plan my practice around sun-bathing.
“I have been practising first thing in the morning or last thing at night, and not playing all day.
“And I have made a conscious effort not to play too much on my own this season, and get games with people. Mitchell Mann, Chris Wakelin, Mark Joyce are regular practice partners.
“And also my boyfriend because he plays. It is just trying to get the balance and I think I did too much on my own last season.
“With my boyfriend we are a bit too competitive. A friend asked me the other day if it was all a bit too relaxed playing him for my practice – but it is the total opposite.
“Whether it is against him or my brothers, I don’t want them to get a frame! It is pretty competitive, but in a healthy way and we play for dinner to spice it up a bit.”
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