The world number one was due to kick start the 2021 edition tomorrow afternoon.
Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski have both been forced to withdraw from the 2021 Masters after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Englishmen, who contested the World Grand Prix final just before Christmas, will undergo a period of self-isolation.
Trump was scheduled to face David Gilbert in the opening match of the tournament on Sunday and was among the heavy favourites for this year’s title.
The 2019 champion’s place will instead be taken up by Joe Perry, who was a Masters runner-up four years ago.
Kyren Wilson was due to encounter Lisowski on Sunday evening but now will take on namesake Gary Wilson, who will be one of three cueists making a Masters debut.
The World Snooker Tour has said that all other players and officials have so far tested negative for COVID-19.
Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski’s departure is undoubtedly a big blow for an event that has already been heavily impacted by the ongoing COVID pandemic.
For the first time since the inaugural staging way back in 1975, the invitational will not be staged in London.
It had been hoped that the players could compete as usual at the Alexandra Palace, but a rise in infections led to the understandable decision to host proceedings in Milton Keynes – as has become the norm this season on the Main Tour.
Trump and Lisowski have proved that snooker, just like any sport or section of society, isn’t immune to the virus.
The show, for now at least, goes on with the action still expected to commence tomorrow, and the new set of 16 players will compete for the Paul Hunter Trophy in addition to the top prize worth £250,000.
Featured photo credit: WST