Ronnie O'Sullivan's attendance at the World Snooker Championship was never in doubt, according to his rivals for the Crucible crown.
O'Sullivan has repeatedly threatened to skip this year's event in Sheffield to focus on his television career, branding the competition "boring" at one stage.
However, 'the Rocket' will be in attendance for a tournament that could see him equal the six world titles of Steve Davis and Ray Reardon, as well as surpass the 18 major wins amassed by Stephen Hendry.
"He was always going to be here, of course he was," 2010 world champion Neil Robertson told Omnisport.
"You look at what Tiger Woods' return did for the Masters, you had sports fans who don't really have much interest in golf watching it.
"Players like Ronnie O'Sullivan do that for snooker. He is the figurehead of the sport. What Tiger Woods is to golf and Roger Federer is to tennis, that's the way it is, and he's earned that right through a couple of decades of unbelievable success.
"A tournament's always worse off if Ronnie's not participating in it."
Defending champion Mark Selby echoed those comments by stressing it would be unthinkable for O'Sullivan - who begins his campaign against Stephen Maguire on Saturday - to stay away.
"He's had a fantastic season and this is the tournament he bases his season around," said Selby, who beat John Higgins in last year's final to claim his third Crucible title.
"When he was saying he might not play in it, it never really crossed my mind that he wouldn't play.
"I'm glad he is playing in it because as a fellow pro you want the best players in the tournament.
"If you go on to win the tournament, you want the top players in it, and Ronnie's definitely the top player."
And Mark Allen, who beat O'Sullivan on his way to winning snooker's Masters tournament in January, believes the 42-year-old knows exactly what he is doing when he feeds controversial lines to the media.
"As much as he doesn't like saying it, he loves competing," said the Northern Irishman.
"Ronnie can make the game look ridiculously easy at times and make the rest of us look a little bit stupid. But he's an absolute genius.
"Ronnie's incredibly smart in what he does. I think some of the things he says in interviews take a lot of pressure off him, because people think he doesn't care.
"But deep down he knows that he does. He doesn't get the credit he deserves for how smart he is in some of the things that he says."
|BREAKING NEWS: Pochettino signs new deal with Tottenham|
|Istanbul to host 2020 Champions League final|
|Williams sisters given French Open wildcard|
|President Donald Trump praises NFL´s anthem stance|
|Buffon in consideration for Italy call, says Mancini|
|Roberts injured in Broncos win against Eels|
|Atletico complete move for Villarreal star Rodri|
|Ozil, Gundogan not playing politics, says Low|
|Valencia complete permanent Kondogbia signing|
|Fairytale ending could be in the script, says World Cup-bound Vardy|
|Milwaukee police apologise to Bucks´ Brown over tasering|
|Television, crosswords and Nintendo - Koscielny´s remedy to World Cup heartache|
|World Cup not an audition for Barca or Madrid, says Germany star Werner|
|Neck injury rules Kohli out of Surrey stint|
|Nine LaLiga titles and 674 club games under nine managers - Iniesta in Opta numbers|
|49ers Enterprises takes stake in Leeds United|
|Manchester United should sell Pogba if he´s unhappy - Scholes|
|Andres Iniesta´s nine LaLiga triumphs with Barcelona|
|Andres Iniesta: The footballers´ footballer|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Salah has foundations in place for Ballon d´Or challenge|
|Iniesta´s Vissel Kobe move confirmed|
|Low upbeat over Neuer´s World Cup hopes|
|´No secrets´ in playoffs, says Celtics rookie Tatum|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Salah takes his chances better than Ronaldo - Opta|
|Cubs, Yankees find very different ways to lose|
|Cole hoping to see Rooney in MLS amid DC United links|
|LeBron feeling worn down following Cavs loss|
|Rahm enjoys ´traditional golf courses´|
|Upbeat Spieth eyeing first win of 2018|
|Ovechkin leads Capitals into Stanley Cup Finals|
|Federer: Serena may be the greatest of all-time|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Gremio top group, River and Flamengo draw|
|Celtics rebound with key game-five win over Cavs|
|Warriors duo Thompson, Iguodala questionable for game five|
|Suarez: Iniesta hard to replace at Barcelona|
|Slipper suspended after positive cocaine test|
|Cardinals´ Ozuna absent from line-up because he overslept|
|Ancelotti a ´real coup´ for Napoli as Insigne thanks Sarri|
|Johnston ´amazed´ to see Liverpool in Champions League final|
|Fearless Loftus-Cheek embraces England pressure|
|Butland shocked by Hart absence|
|It´s a football club – Klopp on choosing Liverpool over Man United|
|Emery appointed after secret vote, says Arsenal chief|
|Klopp used Sevilla loss to inspire European title tilt - Henderson|
|Lineker, Stoichkov, Zico - the stars who blazed a J-League trail for Iniesta|
|Golf not fame drives McIlroy|
|De Villiers tributes led by Du Plessis, Kallis and Tendulkar|
|Buttler ´maturity´ is just what England need, says Vaughan|
|Fit-again Wawrinka returns to winning ways|
|Toulouse take giant step towards Ligue 1 survival|
|Jets will not punish players for incurring anthem-related fines|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton and Bottas looking to build momentum - Monaco GP in numbers|
|Steelers´ Antonio Brown advises Le´Veon Bell to ´show up´|
|Stephens out in Nuremberg, Stosur wins Strasbourg final rematch|
|Clippers extend coach Rivers´ contract|
|Ancelotti ´thrilled´ by Serie A return with Napoli|
|Carlo´s Angels? Napoli boss poses for unusual photograph|
|Brady will attend Patriots mini-camp despite OTA absence - Kraft|
|World Cup hero, Champions League master - the best of Andres Iniesta|
|Heading to my new home - Iniesta drops massive Vissel Kobe hint|
|Neymar fitter than Brazil expected ahead of World Cup|
|Jardim, Jokanovic reject Chelsea speculation|
|Knight Riders rally dumps out Royals in IPL eliminator|
|Salah, Mane, Firmino trio could blow Madrid away, says Redknapp|
|Napoli appoint Ancelotti after Sarri departure|
|NFL stars must stand for national anthem if on field|
|Mascherano laments Romero injury blow|
|´Mr 360´ De Villiers retires after going full circle|
|Ronaldo already a Real Madrid legend like Di Stefano - Nacho|
|Pep or Pepe? The Spanish footsteps Emery could follow|