Judd Trump claims that his exclusion from this month’s Masters was “a joke” – and down to an “inaccurate” Covid test.
But the world No1’s allegations have been swiftly challenged by governing body World Snooker Tour, and also healthcare company Cavendish that performed the testing.
The Juddernaut, along with Jack Lisowski, tested positive for coronavirus and in accordance with strict protocols had to withdraw.
He had been a hot favourite to win the £250,000 first prize, but ended up not even receiving the usual £15,000 guaranteed minimum for the top 16 players having qualified.
WST officials were angry about Trump’s comments, after adhering to strict government guidelines to keep the snooker show going and the players earning.
Trump, questioning the legitimacy of his procedure, said: “I don’t even think the test is accurate. So, to pull you out of the tournament and also take away prize money is a bit of a joke.
“I didn’t think I had it and felt absolutely fine, and it is an inaccurate test that determines it.
“When I was first told I thought it was a joke, and I asked them if they were joking, but they said there was nothing they could do. On another day it could have come back that I could have played.
“I had a few symptoms after Christmas but nothing I haven’t had before, I thought it was a cold so I didn’t even bother getting checked.
“Jack Lisowski got checked after the World Grand Prix final, it came back inconclusive. He got tested again, it came back negative. So he didn’t have it, he comes to the Masters, and he’s positive.
“You will always get some strange goings on. As for my trip to Dubai, if I had it then I already had it. I have had worse colds. Do I go and get checked because I have a runny nose?
“It is ridiculous. In any other year it would just be dismissed as a cold. And also World Snooker shouldn’t be taking the prize money away.
"Doing that when it is nobody’s fault is very strange whoever made that decision up, I think that’s the only tournament where it has been done. I know Jack has questioned it.”
But WST chairman Barry Hearn dismissed Trump's views. He said: "I was disappointed with his comments. Judd is a great champion and a huge asset to our game.
“But that comes with responsibilities, including understanding issues like Covid that affect not only snooker, but the whole nation.
“I am sure in hindsight when he reads them through he will realise how ridiculous and ludicrous they were. He is not a doctor, and certainly has no idea whether a test is accurate or not.
“He can’t back that comment up, because he isn’t qualified. We have gone almost further than any other sport and that is one of the reasons the government have allowed us to continue.
“Without that regime Judd and others Would be sitting at home. So if you do fail a test, you can’t question the validity of it when you aren’t qualified to give that opinion.
“I think he probably caught it in Dubai, and really this is about him being prickly about losing any prize money from the Masters, and he feels aggrieved.”
A WST spokesperson said: “The Covid-19 tests carried out on players have the approval of Public Health England and local authorities, as well as our Chief Medical Officer.
“And they are the same as applied by other leading sporting bodies, for example the English Football League.
“Both Judd and Jack (Lisowski) received a PCR test, which is the gold standard of Covid-19 testing, and the complete process was performed by healthcare professionals.
“Players are in a privileged position to be able to continue to play and compete at tournaments.
“Everyone on site at our events, including the vast majority of players, understand that we must follow the guidelines in order to maintain a safe environment.
“And the rules on prize money were clear and only players who competed in the Masters were eligible.”
Dr Akbar de Medici, medical director for Cavendish Health, said: “We are not able to discuss individual cases.
“But we are very experienced in Covid-19 testing and have been providing ‘gold standard’ PCR tests since March 2020 on behalf of professional sports and entertainment organizations and directly for individuals.
“The swabs are processed by one of the UK’s leading labs with bases within several of London’s leading NHS hospitals and subject to very stringent standards as you would expect.
“If a client is dissatisfied with a result we are always happy to perform a confirmatory test.
“But no request has been received, and in any event guidelines do not allow for any positive test result to be overturned.”