Phil Haigh ✍️
Neil Robertson has enjoyed one of the longer breaks of his snooker career over the summer, but is excited to be back in action at the World Mixed Doubles alongside Mink Nutcharut.
The world number four has not played since suffering defeat in the second round of the World Championship to Jack Lisowski in April, skipping the Championship League and European Masters.
It may have been a disappointing end to the campaign but Robertson regards the last season as his best ever, having won the Masters, English Open, Players Championship and Tour Championship.
After such a successful year, the Australian was keen to recharge the batteries and get fully prepared for the busy schedule that runs from the end of September until Christmasn.
‘It’s been good, it’s been a long summer,’ Robertson told the Talking Snooker podcast. ‘Usually you have a couple of weeks where you don’t really do anything, then it’s pre-season mode where you start hitting balls around, but it was a good couple of months of an off-season.
‘When you have kids you have to wait for them to finish school and enjoy the summer as well. We went to Sweden for three weeks and had a brilliant time.
‘I’ve had an extended break which has been good. I know there have been some other events that have gone on, but I want to play in events when I’m really, really ready to go, which is why I’ve taken the time off to get that extra downtime.
‘When things get up and running, especially for the top players who have a few more events than some of the others, once we start we’re pretty much playing every week or two.
‘So I wanted to pick the right time to start the season and then finish all the way through. Not play an event and then not play for six weeks, I want to play all the way through to the Christmas break.’
Robertson will return to the baize in the exciting new World Mixed Doubles event in Milton Keynes on 24-25 September, which sees the top four players in the world paired with the top four women in the game.
The Thunder from Down Under feels the standard in the women’s game has improved so much in recent years that an event of this nature can now be a real hit.
‘You look at women’s snooker and how much it’s progressed over the last five or six years. Women are winning matches on the main tour, which is fantastic, and competing in a lot of matches,’ he said.
‘I think all the players involved are going to be competitive, which is what you want for an event like this.’
The teams see Ronnie O’Sullivan paired with Reanne Evans, Judd Trump joining Ng On Yee, Mark Selby teaming up with Rebecca Kenna and Robertson partnering Mink Nutcharut.
The Thai star is the current women’s world champion and the only female player to have a recorded 147 break, so the Thunder is understandably excited to be teaming with the 22-year-old, although tactical discussions haven’t started just yet.
‘I haven’t got in touch to discuss any tactics or anything like that. Maybe closer to the event maybe we’ll do something like that,’ said Neil.
‘I’m very excited to be partnered with her. A couple of years ago she had the 147 recorded on video. I’ve seen her play since, she beat Mitchell Mann a couple of weeks ago, so obviously she’s a really good player.
‘It’s good to see the younger female players come along, especially from overseas, I like that as well.
‘It’s very exciting and not something I’ve really played in before on that kind of scale. I hope the format is really good and it gets the exposure that it deserves.’
Robertson is not playing the British Open immediately after the World Mixed Doubles but is heading overseas to play the Hong Kong Masters from 6-9 October.
The South China Morning Post report that a record crowd of up to 8,000 is expected at the Hong Kong Coliseum and Robertson is thrilled to be heading back having won the last edition of the event in 2017.
It’ll be the first time going back to Asia since the pandemic happened. All the players involved in Hong Kong are really excited to get back out there and start to play snooker in other countries.
That’s a big part of why we play, to play in different cultures and in front of different sets of fans.
I remember the last time we were there, when I won it, playing Ronnie in the final in front of 3,000 people who clapped every single shot, it was just amazing.
I hear the venue this year is fantastic, so looking forward to getting out there and experieicing that
It’s unreal. If it’s anything like last time it’s going to be an amazing experience for all the players involved.
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