Neil Robertson labelled the format of the World Snooker Championship ‘dated and stale’ and called for its reform.
The Australian thinks snooker needs to adapt and that few people want to watch matches played over 33 frames in the semi-finals – and 35 in the final.
The 2010 world champion claims he would never watch an entire match of such a length and expressed concern with how potential new fans of the sport could be enticed by such lengthy games.
Robertson has only been to the semi-finals at the Crucible once since triumphing 11 years ago and admits the desire to change format is a personal opinion – but one that comes from an entertainment standpoint.
“I’ve got a little bit of an issue with the World Championship, with the length of the format,” the 39-year-old told the Talking Balls Podcast.
“I feel that matches can drag on a bit and I’ve been sucker-punched into getting bogged down too much and getting involved in longer, scrappier frames, which is my fault and it happened again this year – even though I said it wasn’t going to happen.
“Personally I don’t really like the format, I think it’s pretty dated and it can be very stale.
“I’ve never watched a best of 35 from start to finish, ever. You’ll never get the general public watching a best of 35 from start to finish, ever.
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“They’ll watch the final of the Masters or UK [Championship], they’ll dip in and out of the World Championship but they’ll never be engaged in the whole match.
“From an entertainment point of view, the World Championship is a struggle for me to watch and I’m a top snooker player in the game.”
The Australian is not necessarily calling for the World Championship to shorten its format, but believes the length of matches over the first three rounds are the maximum.
Robertson likened the games to a ‘far too long’ eight-day Test match in cricket and worries for the future of snooker if the format isn’t amended.
While he has publicly voiced his displeasure, Robertson does not expect the format to change soon and he must endure the longer matches to win the world title.
He believes if the World Championship was played over a shorter format, he would already be a multiple world champion by now.
Robertson also admitted that while the Crucible is an excellent venue for atmosphere, it is technically frustrating to play at.
He believes it is too tight to comfortably play shots during the two-table set-up stage of the tournament.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing a change in venue and then bringing it back for the semi-finals and final at the Crucible,” Robertson revealed. “I can’t see that happening but that’s probably something I’d look to do.”
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