Barry Hawkins says lockdown came at the perfect time and has revitalised his desire to pick up his cue.

The Ditton potter eased past Crucible debutant Alexander Ursenbacher in his first round at the World Championship with a comfortable 10-2 win, making amends for a patchy season that’s seen him fail to get past a quarter-final of a ranking event.

Those struggles led to the world No.15 falling out of love with the game but he reckons the lay-off has intensified his passion for snooker as he embarks on a Sheffield run.

“Lockdown came at the perfect time for me,” Hawkins, 41, said.

“It came at the point where I was getting a little bit sick of snooker - I’ve played so much over the last few years it was just starting to drain me a little bit.

“It was nice to put the cue away and I didn’t hit a ball for three months, so it was nice just to spend some time at home, although after a month or two it got a bit crazy and I wanted to get back to some sort of normality!

“I was actually really looking forward to playing again - I’ve got a new cue now and it’s given me that little extra incentive to go up to the club and practice, and a new challenge.

“Lockdown definitely helped - it was a much-needed break and a much-needed time to switch off, relax and chill really.

“By the time lockdown was finished I was ready to start practicing again, and I really enjoyed trying to put the hours in and going round playing a few players again.”

Hawkins struck a memorable 147 maximum break at the UK Championship but succumbed to a second round defeat before also falling at the opening hurdle at the Masters, two of the sport’s Triple Crown events.

He found the potting fluency that saw him reach the 2013 World Championship final at the Crucible, though, as breaks off 84, 70 and 65 booked him a testing second round clash against world No.2 Neil Robertson.

Hawkins boasts an impressive record at the home of snooker, having followed up that run to the final seven years ago with four semi-finals and one quarter-final in the next five years.

He’s got a rotten half of the draw this year, however - it includes six world champions - and knows he’ll have to improve if he’s to replicate those heroics of yesteryear.

“It’s unbelievable - both halves of the draw are unbelievably tough but when you look at that bottom half you’ve got six world champions, which is ridiculous,” he added.

“I suppose being the underdog helps me a little bit but in terms of no pressure, everybody’s desperate to win the World Championship so you put the pressure on yourself.

“Coming up against Neil brings its own pressure - you know he’s going to knock in big breaks, so I’m looking forward to it, will see where my game’s at and it’s a good test going forward.”

Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July -16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.