By beating Ken Doherty 5-0 in the China Open, Judd Trump ensured his qualification for the final stages of the sixth ranking tournament in as many events this season.
Judd was a semi-finalist in this season’s Grand Prix and won the qualifying event for the Masters.
I’m pleased to see him finding his feet on the professional tour. I was one who always believed he was the genuine article ever since seeing him win the English under 15 title at the age of ten (him, not me) in 2000.
It’s true he did not make the rapid progress some predicted but players mature at different rates.
He has suffered through comparisons to Ronnie O’Sullivan. I’ve got news for you: everyone suffers through comparison to O’Sullivan.
Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy – currently second and third respectively in the world rankings – were each 22 when they won their first ranking titles. Judd is 19.
He has already played at the Crucible and has the potential to be one of snooker’s top players for many years to come.
The game certainly needs young blood, just like any sport. And Judd’s boyband looks can help widen snooker’s appeal with younger fans.
It’s up to him whether he makes the personal sacrifices necessary to reach the very top.
Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry had to. While their pals were out on the town, they were preserving their energies for another day’s hard practice.
The next step for Judd is to win a major title. It’s easy to say but, of course, very hard to do.
I believe he will but, like all players, he will need his fair share of luck mixed in with what is a very obvious talent.
Perhaps he should also rein in some of his attacking instincts and play the percentages more.
He’s still maturing as a player. The fact that he can be even better must be a worry for some of the game’s more established players.