sports

Judd Trump relishing the prospect of proving doubters wrong: ‘Everyone is so quick to forget’


Judd Trump is ready to remind everyone who is world number one (Picture: Getty Images)

Judd Trump is refreshed and raring to go at the World Snooker Championship this year, regaining his excitement to compete and relishing the prospect of reminding the doubters who is number one in the world.

The 31-year-old has won five ranking events this season and is the bookmakers’ favourite heading to the Crucible, but some recent early exits have seen his form brought into question.

The Ace fell early at the Welsh Open, Players Championship and Tour Championship, and with blistering performances from John Higgins and Neil Robertson to win the latter two of those events, much attention turned to the Scot and the Australian.

It was only last month that Trump lifted the Gibraltar Open and he feels that some memories are extremely short in snooker.

Far from concerned about his own form, he believes he just had a couple of off days and people should not forget that he has racked up a whopping 11 ranking titles over the last two seasons.

‘That’s something I find funny,’ Trump told Metro.co.uk. ‘Everyone is so quick to forget nowadays, it’s like the only thing that matters is the tournament that’s just happened.

‘When John Higgins was playing the best snooker of his life and all of a sudden the favourite to win every tournament he enters, when was that, a month ago? Now he’s forgotten about.

‘Neil Robertson is suddenly the man to beat, playing the best snooker of his life. It’s all quite exaggerated, it’s really up or really down.

‘It’s not just the fact I’ve lost a game, it’s like the end of the world. I’ve been through my whole career winning an event or two every season, if I lose a couple of games in a row it’s really not the end of the world.’

Trump was beaten in the quarter-finals of the Tour Championship by Barry Hawkins, which went down as a pretty big shock, but the world number one feels expectations on him have got a bit out of hand.

With fans and pundits expecting him to win every time he picks up his cue, he is glad that those exacting standards might have just slipped away a little bit as he prepares for Sheffield and the expectations can be placed on someone else.

‘Everything is so magnified these days because the standard is so good,’ Judd said. ‘It’s not just one frame you lose, it could be four or five because the momentum can change a best of 11 in an instant.

‘The commentators might say you’re playing badly but I know when that’s happening and I haven’t played badly in the last couple of games. It’s not my absolute best, but it’s not bad.

‘People like Barry Hawkins, the majority of the public expect you to beat, but he’s so good, he should have beat Ronnie comfortably in the next game and that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

‘Everyone expects you to win every game, Ronnie O’Sullivan has had the pressure of it his whole life, I’ve had it the last two or three years.

‘Neil’s going to have that now after the last tournament, everyone will expect him to win, but deep down, I won’t be expecting him to win. I know how hard it is to win two tournaments in a row.

Trump won the Gibraltar Open last month (Picture: WST)

‘It’s much better for me to come in under the radar, let everyone think I’m playing bad because I’ve not won the last two tournaments and turn up and hopefully have a good event.

‘I’m excited by the World Championship especially with fans being back, it’s been a long road the last year and become a bit draining for everyone. I think everyone thought it would be done and finished six months ago, it’s really dragged on and we’re looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. It seems to be coming and everyone’s really really excited for this tournament.’

Trump has altered his preparation for this event, taking much more time off than usual as he looks to refresh mentally for the biggest tournament on the calendar.

Given that he plays in nearly every event, goes deep in the majority of them and has a relentless attitude to practice, Trump has the most intense schedule of anyone in the game and he feels it has started to take its toll.

He has taken some well-earned time off now, though, and thinks that will see him produce the kind of form that saw him win the world title in 2019.

‘I don’t ever really feel like the favourite but I do feel like if I’m playing my best I’ll be really difficult to beat,’ Trump said of his World Championship chances.

Judd Trump thrashed John Higgins 18-9 to win the 2019 World Championship (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I do know that I’m more excited for this tournament than any in the last two years. I’ve had more days off in the last couple of weeks than I’ve had in the last 10 years of playing snooker, just to get my mind right.

‘It’s been so hectic for me that it’s all got a bit samey, even when I win tournaments there’s no real spark, I feel like I’m just going through the motions.

‘I’m trying to find that passion again, get that excitement of playing and winning again. You should be excited about winning but I’ve got a bit bored, it’s all the same and I’m just trying to find that love back and enjoyment back that you need so you can play your absolute best like I did against John Higgins in that final.

‘The amount of days I’ve taken off you could count on one hand, I’d be very surprised if any other player has got anywhere close to how few days I’ve took off in the last few years. On one hand that’s why I’ve been so consistent and successful, on the other it takes its toll and it can be mentally draining playing so much.’

The Ace is trying to strike the perfect balance of being fully rested and properly prepared and feels that he has managed that thanks to putting his cue away for a few days after the Championship League finished at the start of April.

He has learned when best to rest and when the time is right to work after taking a well-timed holiday before his World Championship win two years ago.

The world number one knows that some people will question his preparation whatever he does, but is backing himself to do the right thing and position himself perfectly for more Crucible glory.

‘Before that World Championship win, I lost in China first round and then I went to Dubai for a few days,’ Trump explained. ‘There were a lot of people criticising me before the Worlds, saying I should have waited till after, but I ended up winning it!

‘Nobody knows what you’re going through mentally behind the scenes. It’s so hard to judge someone else’s career or what they’re doing. You can only concentrate on yourself.

‘Everyone seems to have an opinion, but there’s been so much going on over the last year for everyone and people are still nit-picking.

‘Everyone’s trying their best, you have good and bad days, for me it’s about getting away from even thinking about snooker.

‘I’m back in now and enjoying playing for the first time in a while, I’m trying to treat it like a hobby again. I’m trying to get that balance right between being perfectly prepared and not over prepared.’

Trump begins his World Championship challenge on Tuesday 20 April at the Crucible, with the draw for the first round made on Thursday 15 April.


MORE : Judd Trump: Snooker is stuck in a rut and this is how to fix it


MORE : Ronnie O’Sullivan explains heavy final defeats this season: ‘I’m not prepared to try my nuts off to get beat 10-8’

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more