The Crucible theatre, home of the World Snooker Championship is the pinnacle of any players career. A win over a gruelling 17 days in Sheffield grants immediate legendary status to those talented enough to lift the trophy. In the build-up to the event, punters and experts generate favourites and predict which cueist will next be crowned the King of Sheffield.
Often, prominent names such as Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby are thrown into the hat and branded as tournament favourites in light of their rich history in the competition. However, in 2019, an alternate name Judd Trump is tipped to slay the Welsh Dragon, Mark Williams and de crown him of his title.
The rise of the Juddernaut!
Despite turning professional in 2005, Trump has only ever been to a Crucible final once in his career, losing a respectively 15-18 to John Higgins in 2011. Across the tour and in the Snooker scene, Trump is recognised for his supreme talent and cue power but has always fell short in his match play.
A common critism of ‘the Juddernaut’ has always been his temperament and focus, often showing mental weakness in high pressure circumstances. As a result of this, Trump found himself being knocked out in the early stages of tournaments to players of a significantly weaker standard to himself. A 10-month trophy drought between October 2017 and August 2018 was enough for Trump to take action.
Home is where the heart is.
As of the 2018/19 season, Trump employed brother, Jack full-time to help with his mind set throughout tournaments and during practice. In an interview with the BBC, Judd Trump said that previously he was accustomed to taking “reckless shots” when “things have got tough and there is a lot of safety play”.
As well as reinvigorating Trump’s mentality, brother Jack has been responsible for improving his technical play too. Trump highlighted the main difference between now and previous solo practice is that Jack is “making me work on things I would not have done myself”, mainly referring to “safety and long pots”. After Trump’s most successful campaign in Snooker, he firmly believes that “he (Jack) is getting the best out of me”.
The safety play and long pot success which Trump referenced proved to be key factors in his recent 10-4 Masters victory over O’Sullivan, which seen the boy from Bristol take all four of the opening frames, all without the Rocket scoring a point.
Consistency is key.
In Sheffield, the most consist performer throughout those 17 days usually takes home the trophy. In a tournament which lies the possibility of playing up to 137 frames of Snooker over five matches, players must be willing to go to battle in route to victory.
Alternatively, a common perception of any long-form tournament is that players don’t want to peak too early, saving their best performers for the latter stages. The early rounds can often be the toughest as the players haven’t yet settled into the environment or not yet grasped the playing surfaces. These hurdlers often cause upsets, so victories that are achieved through playing unattractive snooker are often referred by the cliché, ‘the sign of a champion’.
When analysing Judd Trump as my tip to win the World Championship, he is a player who seems to be enjoying the game more than ever and as hungry for success as he has ever been throughout his 14 years as a pro.
In previous years were Trump would either obliterate his opponent or lose a very scrappy match, he now seems to have modelled into mature athlete with the ability to handle different situations under diverse circumstances.
O’Sullivan, who many see as the main threat to the other pro’s, has openly expressed his views on the tournament and is of the opinion that the longevity has the ability to burn players out, including the Rocket himself.
After achieving his first Masters title this season, I am backing Trump to go one step further and write his name in the history books, becoming a winner of the World Snooker Championship.