Three-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has been handed a tricky tie against China's Liang Wenbo in the first round of the World Championships.
Seven-time champion Stephen Hendry is also paired with a rising Chinese star, Crucible debutant Anda Zhang, 18.
Defending champion John Higgins gets the tournament under way on 17 April against Barry Hawkins.
Steve Davis, who has won the title on six occasions, starts his 30th campaign in Sheffield against Mark King.
The 52-year-old, who won all six of his world championships in the 1980s with his last coming in 1989, said: "I baulk at being happy because I know how hard it is at the Crucible.
"It's not so much about who you play as how you play and you can talk yourself into one player being easier than another, but there are certain players you'd be happy to avoid so once you've avoided them you can't be displeased."
The 'Nugget', whose provisional ranking for next season has dropped to 27, is looking forward to seeing matches involving two of the three Chinese players in the last 32.
"From the point of view of excitement it's about the Chinese players," he said.
"We don't know what Liang is capable of but I don't suppose he's too happy, although I don't imagine Ronnie will be absolutely delighted to play a player who is on the up.
"We also have an unknown quantity in 18-year-old Zhang who has drawn the most established player at the Crucible in Stephen Hendry.
"That's a fascinating match and Hendry will want to get through to prove he's still got a future.
"But he's got a player he's probably never seen before and he certainly wouldn't know him if he walked past him in the street.
"We don't know what he's capable of but Stephen has got to go out and justify his existence as a snooker player."
The clash between the favourite O'Sullivan and Wenbo, who has jumped into the top 16 in the provisional rankings, should be an intriguing encounter.
The 'Rocket' defeated Wenbo in the 2008 world quarter-finals 13-7 when the Chinese star was making his crucible debut.
China's third player in the tournament and provisionally ranked seven, Ding Junhui, will face England's Stuart Pettman.
Other notable matches include this year's Masters champion Mark Selby beginning his quest against 1997 champion Ken Doherty while the 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon takes on the 2006 winner Graeme Dott.
It will be a rematch for Ebdon and Dott, following their epic battle in the world final four years ago with the Scot coming through 18-14 at a staggering time of 1253 in the morning.
The World Championship takes place between 17 April-3 May in Sheffield.