Trump Raring To Go For Title Defence

World number one Judd Trump is keen to make up for lost time when he takes to the baize at this week’s BildBet German Masters.

Defending champion Trump gets his campaign underway on Wednesday evening against world number 45 Mark Davis.

The Ace in the Pack was forced to watch from the sidelines at home during the Masters earlier this month, after returning a positive test for Covid-19.

Fortunately, Trump was asymptomatic for the duration of his isolation period. However, that didn’t ease the frustration of missing out on one of snooker’s biggest events. He’s already claimed silverware this season at the English Open, Northern Ireland Open and the World Grand Prix and is keen to add to that tally this week.

Trump said: “The first day or two was tough to watch. You just have to sit it out and wait to be allowed out from isolation. I knew I was in the German Masters, which was nice. It was something to look forward to. Hopefully that experience has made me even hungrier to go on and do things this week.

“Because I’ve done so well recently, I haven’t had a lot of time to watch snooker. It was a bit different for me watching from the sidelines. It is a different scenario, but it’s a little bit like Neil Robertson not qualifying for the Masters a few years ago. That spurred him on to do what he has done in recent times. I hope I can use it as a motivational thing. Going forward for the rest of the season, I hope to pick up where I left off in that great World Grand Prix final against Jack Lisowski before Christmas.”

Trump’s win in Berlin last season was the fourth of a record breaking six ranking titles across the campaign. He defeated Neil Robertson 9-6 in front of a capacity crowd of over 2,000 at the iconic Tempodrom to claim the title.

The match became more of a tactical duel than fans have become accustomed to between Trump and Robertson. However, that didn’t diminish the quality or the volume of big breaks. Trump believes that his safety game has evolved to become one of his strongest weapons in recent years.

“Against Neil it can go a little bit cagey at times. Sometimes he overthinks things and they can become scrappy. When I’m not playing my best, it is important just to ride it out and wait a few frames. Sometimes you need to scrap away before you start getting those good chances again,” said 31-year-old Trump

“It gives me a lot of confidence being able to win in different ways. I know now that even if I’m not playing well, I still have a very good chance of winning. That gives me a lot of self belief going into matches. I think my safety is up there with the best, if not the best. When my break building is on, then I am very tough to beat.

“The German Masters has always been one of my favourite tournaments to play in. When you get to the latter stages, semi-finals onwards, it is probably one of the biggest crowds we play in front of. It’s always something I enjoy. The crowd over there love snooker. I really enjoyed it and as it goes, it turned out to be one of the last tournaments in front of a crowd, so that made it even more special.

“Over the past few years there have been a lot more young European players coming through. That was never the case when I was in the lower ranks, or when I first turned professional. Whether it is Germany, or Switzerland, wherever it is, nowadays there is always someone. I think that is just off the back of the attention that the German Masters has brought. The crowd is always full and Berlin is a great city. It is a place the players want to go to. For me, it is disappointing not to be back there. You just have to keep strong mentally and hopefully I can go back there next year and defend a title in front of fans.”

Trump won the inaugural BetVictor European Series last year, earning the £150,000 bonus.

That victory denied Robertson the BetVictor European Series bonus, which comes with accumulating the most prize money across the series. Trump went on to win the Gibraltar Open and snatch the bumper £150,000 payout. So far this season, Kyren Wilson has won the BetVictor Championship League and Mark Selby was victorious at the BetVictor European Masters. With four events to go, Trump believes this week is a great opportunity for somebody else to put themselves in the frame.

“As the events go on it will be more in the limelight. Some of the top players lost in the qualifying event for the German Masters so there might be a chance for someone to come in under the radar and win this to get near the top and be in control with a couple of events to go. The season starts to take shape now, with the race to the Crucible and some other big events, so now is the time to find some form.”

So far this season, from the seven ranking events played, six of them have been shared between Trump, Selby and Robertson. Ahead of the Masters, Selby suggested that it could in part be down to the way the trio have adapted to the behind closed doors environment. Trump feels that the key to adapting for him has stemmed from maintaining his enjoyment of the sport.

“It is tough for everyone. At the start I found it quite difficult, but after I got my head around it, I started just enjoying playing snooker. I appreciate it for what it is. I still love playing and I am enjoying the game as much as I ever have done. There are a lot of people stuck inside, can’t go to work and every day is the same. For us to be able to get out of the house and go to tournaments, it is great. Once you are on that tournament table, you are in a different world for an hour or two and you can zone out from what is going on in the world. It is just like it was playing as a kid, playing as much as you can and having as much fun as possible. Rather than stressing myself out about winning every game, I have just been trying to enjoy myself.”

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