Graeme Dott has withdrawn from this weekend’s leg of the World Series of Snooker in Moscow because his wife, Elaine, is due to give birth at any moment.
Dott, the 2006 world champion, won the Berlin stage of the new competition in July and was due to play Russian hopeful Sergey Vasilev.
“I’m disappointed not to be going to Moscow with the rest of the lads but at the same time I’m just excited that I'm going to be a dad again,” said Dott, who has a four year-old son, Lewis.
“The baby was due last Saturday so it could happen any minute now. It’s the waiting for Elaine and myself that is the hardest part.
“I was looking forward to Moscow having won in Berlin which was amazing, playing in front of the best crowd I’ve ever experienced. But right now my priority is my family.”
The World Series event in Moscow will be the first professional snooker tournament staged in the Russian capital.
It features twice world champion John Higgins, world no.4 Mark Selby and Chinese star Ding Junhui.
“We’ll all miss Graeme in Moscow but will have our glasses charged and ready to toast the new arrival in the Dott family,” said Pat Mooney, chief executive of World Series organisers FSTC management.
“There is nothing more important than Graeme, his wife and the good health of their baby.
“His withdrawal obviously means there is now an opening in the draw and we are working to bring in someone to fill that gap.
“It’s not going to be a problem because players are jumping at the chance to join the World Series.”
The Moscow event is not being televised on Eurosport because of problems related to obtaining the necessary documentation for techinical equipment required for broadcast.
The Grand Finals of the World Series will be staged at the Kremlin next March.
WORLD SERIES OF SNOOKER: MOSCOW
First round matches
John Higgins (Sco) v Antn Ryabinin (Rus)
TBA v Sergey Vasiliev (Rus)
Mark Selby (Eng) v Ruslan Chinakhov (Rus)
Ding Junhui (Chn) v Sergey Isaenko (Rus)