Ahead of the upcoming World Championship, let’s have a look at how the top 16 seeds have been getting on during the interrupted 2019/20 campaign.
Out of all the top 16 seeds heading to the Crucible this year, Barry Hawkins’ season has undoubtedly been one of the worst.
After beginning the 2019/20 campaign in the top ten of the world rankings, the 41 year-old has slipped down the pecking order at a pretty steady pace.
Indeed, it’s only his semi-final appearance in Sheffield from 2018 that is keeping him in the elite bracket, but with those points set to come off his tally Hawkins is provisionally set to end this term in 19th spot.
During this season, Hawkins has only made two appearances at the quarter-final stage of a ranking tournament – in the China Championship and the European Masters.
Early defeats have been more commonplace, with first round exits occurring at the International Championship, Scottish Open, and World Grand Prix, while the Englishman failed to even get beyond the preliminary stages of the Riga and German Masters.
One brief moment of success from Barry Hawkins’ season did happen in Germany as he triumphed in the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth.
But after the competition lost its ranking event status, entry was limited to 16 players and it didn’t ultimately inspire Hawkins to produce at a more consistent level.
The one important thing that’s worth noting, however, is that this wouldn’t be the first time that Hawkins has entered a World Championship out of form.
He has proven time and time again in the past that he can raise his game in Sheffield when it matters the most.
Last year’s 13-11 second-round reverse against Kyren Wilson marked the first time since 2012 that Hawkins had failed to reach at least the quarter-finals.
Indeed, the three-time ranking event winner reached a final and four semi-finals in that spell.
There is a sense that Hawkins’ career might be heading in the wrong direction, but somebody of that pedigree over the longer format can’t be fully discounted.
If he is to repeat his displays of the past, he’ll likely have to do it the hard way because he already finds himself in a hugely difficult quarter of the draw.
Former world champions Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, and Shaun Murphy are probable obstacles to overcome should Hawkins safely negotiate his opening round fixture against a qualifier.
Given his recent form, Hawkins won’t be on many people’s radar, but then again, he usually isn’t.