Jimmy White: Women's world champion Reanne Evans to face The Whirlwind
The 11-time women's world champion Reanne Evans hopes a high-profile match against snooker legend Jimmy White can help revive her career.
Evans has been given a wildcard for next month's Snooker Shoot Out and drawn to play 'The Whirlwind', who was World Championship runner-up six times at the Crucible.
"I've been struggling for form and don't know if I've fallen out of love with the game. This invitation might spur me on again," the 33-year-old told BBC Sport.
She is one of two women, along with fellow World Women's Tour player Emma Parker, invited for the first time among eight wildcards for the 128-strong televised ranking event.
Former women's world under-21 champion Parker, 19, takes on India's Laxman Rawat in the quick-fire tournament, which has a first prize of £32,000.
Evans has played alongside White in doubles matches and travelled to India with him for a tournament, but has never faced the 10-time ranking event winner in a match.
"It will just be great for me to play against the legend Jimmy," said Evans, who was just two wins from becoming the first woman to play at the Crucible in the 2017 World Championship.
She defeated Finland's Robin Hull 10-8 in the first round of qualifying, before losing out 10-6 to former world quarter-finalist Lee Walker.
"Alex Higgins, Jimmy and Ronnie O'Sullivan were the three big characters that changed snooker," said the women's world number two.
"I've got a lot of respect for Jimmy - he has already been very good to me."
What is the Shoot Out?
The event takes place at the Watford Colosseum from 21-24 February and will be broadcast by Eurosport.
Matches are one frame only up to the final, and last a maximum of 10 minutes with a shot clock in operation.
Players wear coloured short-sleeved shirts with the hashtag #clockisticking on the back.
Former world number two White is considered by many to be the best player never to have been world champion - he was runner-up in 1984 and five years running from 1990.
He is now aged 56 and ranked 75 in the world, but 'The Whirlwind' is suited to the quick format and will be backed by a boisterous crowd.
Evans is due to play White on Thursday, 21 February, with Parker in action a day later.
"I'm looking forward to it. I grew up in pubs and clubs playing snooker so I'm half used to the aggravation you might get," said Evans, who has twice scored breaks of 140 - just seven short of the maximum - in matches.
"In one sense you don't really want to play Jimmy, with all the noise, as he's a crowd favourite, but hopefully he'll get some stick."
The Dudley-born potter added: "It's something different and you can't say no to an invitation like that.
"I've lost a bit of confidence over the last couple of years but hopefully that will come back.
"It's such a tough game when you get in a rut and try to over-think things. You dream about it, breathe it, it's your life. I'll try to get back to basics and start enjoying it again."
Evans on women v men
Could a female player qualify for the World Championship at the Crucible in the next few years?
"There's no physical reason why it can't be done, but mentally we are built a bit differently," she said.
"It's going to be the first woman that can find consistency. As soon as a player does that, then why not?"