Shane Warne: Neil Robertson says cricket star's death contributed to loss

March 4, 2022
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Metro Sport Reporter ✍️  

Australian snooker star Neil Robertson admits Shane Warne's death affected his performance
The world no.4 couldn’t focus after hearing about Warne’s passing (Pictures: Eurosport / Getty)

Neil Robertson says he felt like he had been ‘hit by a truck’ when he found out about compatriot Shane Warne’s death and says the Australian cricket legend’s passing impacted his performance in his loss to Judd Trump.

On Friday afternoon, it was announced that Warne had been found dead after a suspected heart attack in Thailand at the age of just 52.

Robertson heard the news shortly before taking on Trump in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open, losing 5-3 in an out-of-sorts performance, and the Aussie says he could not concentrate on the match no matter how hard he tried.

Shane Warne dead aged 52
Warne was one of Australia’s greatest ever sportsmen (Picture: Getty)

‘Obviously hit by a truck with the news just leaving my hotel about Shane Warne,’ Robertson told Eurosport after the defeat. ‘A national hero, an idol of mine growing up as a kid and was fortunate enough to meet him.

‘Just the worst – well not the worst news, obviously if it was a family member – but probably as close to that. As much as I tried today I just couldn’t do anything. My arm felt really heavy, my head felt heavy on my shoulders sitting in the chair.

‘The more I tried to sort of delete what happened overnight from my brain, the more it was sort of in there. I just couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t think properly, couldn’t do anything.

‘An awful situation for myself to be in because waking up this morning I felt really good, I was really looking forward to the match, and then just completely deflated and I couldn’t get anything going.

‘As hard as I tried, it just made it worse. I fought well, I tried hard, I even had a chance to make it 4-4 where 99 times out of 100 I make it 4-4. But even just coming to the table I felt terrible. I’ve never felt like that before so I can’t really compare it to anything else. It’s just awful.’

Asked to explain what Warne means to Australians, Robertson continued: ‘All of Australia will be in absolute mourning, we’re devastated. He’s our national hero. For a couple of decades what he did for Australian cricket, and cricket as a whole around the world – even English cricket.

‘This is like when Diego Maradona died for Argentineans. This is as bad as it gets. I just feel awful for all cricket fans in Australia and around the world, and obviously his closest friends and family too.

Australian snooker star Neil Robertson admits Shane Warne's death affected his performance
Robertson was massively affected by Warne’s death (Picture: Getty)

‘The thing was, when friends were texting me around lunchtime saying Shane Warne had passed away, I was texting them back saying, “No it was Rodney Marsh” – because Rodney Marsh, legendary wicket-keeper, died two days ago.

‘And I was correcting them and they said, “No, it’s Shane Warne now”. And I was just stunned. It just completely sort of drained me of any kind of energy today.’

Asked about his meeting with Warne, Robertson added: ‘I met him in London and had a photo with him and chatted about Aussie Rules.

‘Even when he finished doing all his bits he made a point to come through the crowd and have another chat with me and wish me all the best for my career. So I’ll always look back on those moments with great fondness, obviously. It’s just devastating.’

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