Phil Haigh ✍️
Judd Trump believes it will take him facing one of snooker’s elite to bring out the best in him, so he is not necessarily expecting to fire against Anthony McGill in round two.
The former world champ was solid if unspectacular in a 10-4 win over Hossein Vafaei in the last 32, knocking in one ton and three half-centuries against the below-par Iranian.
The Ace is not too concerned, being aware that he has struggled in the early rounds at the Crucible in the past, memorably coming perilously close to losing to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in 2019 when he went on to lift the trophy.
‘I always struggle in the first round here, the first and second round. I never play well, I always feel like that,’ Trump told Eurosport.
‘Then normally something clicks along the line. The tournament is so long, every game is like a tournament in itself and it gives me the chance to not play well one day and next match play my absolute best.’
As for why Trump cannot rustle up his best form in the early stages at the Crucible, he feels that he needs to feel a genuine threat from his opponent or spark of excitement from the match to produce his finest snooker.
He thinks that one of the game’s very best players or the Crucible one-table set-up would extract his top form, but before that, he is not so sure. Including in his next game against world number 13 McGill.
‘I honestly think, say I draw one of the real, real top names or as soon as it goes to one table, there’s something inside me that feels alive then. I know I’m going to play well,’ Trump explained.
‘Next game is a tough game against Anthony, but still not that top, top name. I know I have to be on it from the start against him and everything like that, I would never take him lightly, he’s an amazing player.
‘But to play my absolute best, it needs to be that special occasion or that top name to really get that fire inside me.
‘If Anthony starts off flying, makes a couple of century breaks then I’ll feel alive.’
Trump says he is not too concerned when he is not firing on all cylinders, as long as he gets the win, as he is very unlikely to play at top form every match due to his unusual cue action, which is far from the textbook techniques of a Neil Robertson or John Higgins.
‘With my cue action, it’s hard for me to play well every single time. Neil and other players can do that. Ronnie, John Higgins,’ he said.
‘For me, the alignment, the way I move, it’s so hard for me to be playing well all the time. It’s something that I’ve accepted. To win six events and then five in a year, with my cue action, is beyond belief because it’s probably one of the worst on tour.
‘But I can replicate it most times, but when things aren’t going well there’s more chance of me missing a ball than maybe Ronnie or Neil.’
Trump and McGill play over three sessions for a place in the quarter-finals on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
This post appeared first on Snooker – Metro.