Graeme Dott and Michael Holt used to argue about who was the worst player when the snooker circuit travelled to China.
It was an argument Dott eventually lost when he won the China Open last season.
His mindset had, of course, been altered by having won the 888.com World Championship in 2006.
It heralded a huge improvement in form and fortunes. Last season, Dott not only conducted himself professionally as world champion but he played the best snooker of his career.
However, this season it has all gone wrong. He has failed to win any of his last 14 matches.
Indeed, his last victory was way back at the Shanghai Masters last August.
Why? In this article Dott mentions some personal problems. He suffered great anxiety when his wife, Elaine, had a cancer scare that mercifully transpired to be nothing more than a scare but Dott was obviously affected when his manager and father-in-law Alex Lambie passed away.
He also expended mental energy fighting World Snooker's absurd attempt to discipline him for making comments about Ian McCulloch at the launch of the 2007 Grand Prix.
Losing, like winning, can become a habit but Dott will know that his two appearances in the Crucible final - in 2004 and 2006 - came off the back of similarly disappointing runs of form.
He will go to Sheffield fresher than most so anyone writing off his title chances should be wary.
Dott, who in 2002 endured a hellish 36-hour journey to the China Open in Shanghai, after which he overslept because of jetlag and arrived late for his match, whereupon his was docked two frames, has gone to China early this year.
He is undertaking promotional work, part of his new approach to playing in this snooker-mad country.
Good for him and good luck to him in the tournament. An upturn in fortunes will come at some point.
Beijing would be as good a place as any.