Ronnie O'Sullivan has been given until the final day in February to decide whether he will defend his World Championship crown.
The Rocket won his fourth Crucible title in 2012 but has since taken a season-long break from the game due to "personal reasons".
Despite this, World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has opened the door for the 37-year-old for a return in time for the April tournament, but must know his decision before March.
Hearn said: "He has until February 28. He knows the date and it's up to him.
"He's got a lot of issues he's trying to clear up. He knows the sport doesn't revolve around one person, but he knows we love him and we miss him.
"He's probably thought about coming back for the World Championship but you can't ever say what Ronnie is really thinking. He does tend to change his mind every 24 hours."