New world champions have much to get used to.

There’s the higher profile, the increased expectation – from media, fans, fellow players and, perhaps most crucially, themselves – and a greater number of off table commitments.

Joe Johnson once told me that after he won the world title in 1986 he would have photographers waiting for him when he got off the plane on his holiday.

Snooker doesn’t command such an interest in the media now but Neil Robertson is still going to have to adjust to the various demands on his time and scrutiny of his performances.

You can just imagine some of the comments if he makes a bad start to the new season.

What will stand him in good stead is his inner steel, which he has demonstrated time and time again.

Robertson has appeared in five ranking tournament finals and won them all, an admirable record. The way to silence any doubters there may be is to keep on winning: no player can do more than that.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at a pro career while still very young, Robertson returned to the circuit in 2003, set up camp in Cambridge and has impressed ever since.

Winning the world title was reward for all the sacrifices he has made and will have to continue to make. Fatherhood complicates the issue too – albeit in a happy way – and it will be interesting to see what sort of Neil Robertson returns to the UK for the new campaign.

How hungry will he be for further silverware? How determined will he be to press on from this and cement a place among the all time greats?

Snooker has a low media profile in Australia but it has risen considerably since his Crucible triumph and he has been doing his his bit with media appearances. Fingers crossed it can translate into a professional event there.

Neil is good for the game. Having an Australian world champion is a boost to snooker’s global aspirations, he has a clean cut image and plays in an attractive way. He shows his personality in the arena and is honest and direct in media interviews. His charisma is real, not constructed.

His victory in Sheffield was partly overshadowed by the John Higgins scandal and what became a poor final but all that matters is that his name is on the one trophy that means more than all the rest put together.

It will always be there. He will always have the memories of his celebrations in the arena with his mother who had flown from the other side of the world to share the moment.

But it is to the future to which Robertson should now look.

Some world champions have enjoyed continual success in the season that followed their win – Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Higgins and John Parrott being examples.

Others – Johnson, Peter Ebdon and Shaun Murphy – found it harder going.

Much will depend on how much time Robertson actually has to get his head down and work on his game. I’d imagine he hasn’t spent much – if any time – practising since winning the world title but any rustiness will soon be exposed when he returns to action.

Then there’s the question of what he himself is expecting to happen this year. What goals will he set himself – the top the rankings? To win a certain number of tournaments? To retain the world title?

It might be better not to set targets at all. Few wanted to draw him before, even fewer will want to do so now.

Robertson is a positive sort of guy and will almost certainly look not at the pitfalls and what can go wrong in his year as world champion but just revel in the experience of being introduced as such.

What better feeling can there be in snooker?

He may go on to win more world titles, he may never win another.

In the meantime, he should enjoy the feeling while it lasts.


Betty Logan said...

I agree, let the year belong to the achievement rather than your ambitions. Obviously you won't enjoy it if you lose every match but I think it's important to not set goals on the basis of just being world champ.


When a player becomes world champion, his life changes inexorably.

He can be as busy as he likes with appearances and promotional work.

There is obviously some pressure then, to earn as much as possible in your championship year, as it might be your last.

This in turn can sap a players energy and cause enough deterioration in his preparation to affect how he plays.

There is also the added negative that everyone you play will be twice as motivated as usual because they have the opportunity to gain the scalp of a world champion.

There is a notable difference between the four players who performed after winning the wc and the three who didn't.

Davis, Hendry, Higgins and Parrott were already prolific winners on the circuit and thus, were already much in demand for exhibitions etc.

While Ebdon was no stranger to winning, he would not be described as prolific and his style of play would maybe not have been as conducive to exhibitions and product promotion, as some of his more flamboyant colleagues.

Winning the championship would have changed the lives of Ebdon, Murphy and Johnson far more than the former four.

Having said that, both Hendry and Davis' unsuccessful title defences would have been considered huge shocks at the time.

It will be interesting to see how Robertson copes.

I expect him to have a poor season and finish next spring around 7 or 8 in the rankings.

This is because, apart from the usual pressures of being world champion, he will have the wrench of dividing his energies between partner/child and snooker.

I hope Im wrong as he seems like a good lad and a non british champion is a huge asset as the game tries to reinvent itself as a global sport.

It looks as if he is eventually going to be the most successful overseas player ever by a country mile, and with the new opportunities in snooker, may go on to overtake some of Higgins and O'Sullivans' records.

CHRISK5 said...

Robertson has stated he wants to win the UK Championship or the Masters this season - to add to his collection.

Defending his World Title will be intriguing - as no 1st time champion has yet to defend successfully ! - not even Davis or Hendry managed it - so if Robbo did
he would be a legend for sure !

His style of play is sublime on so many levels - as said before,
if his cueball control could be just a bit tighter - he would be virtually unbeatable.

The fact he won the 2010 World Title - playing mostly his B or C game throughout & with something to spare - really is a warning of things to come for his fellow peers

As the top players are so evenly matched,ability wise - to have that bit more mental strength like Robbo has - is a huge asset.

Anonymous said...

Neil Robertson has Proved himself.

not many has won 5 Ranking Tournaments even fewer has won tournament every year since their first. and won 2 Ranking Tournament in the same season twice 2006/2007 season and 2009/2010 season

2006 Grand Prix
2007 Welsh Open
2008 Barhain Championship
2009 Grand Prix
2010 World Championship

Matt said...

I like Neil but my gut feeling is that he's not going to go on and dominate from here. Not really sure why in truth, maybe it's because of his age and the fact that he's already quite well established. Maybe it's just the strength in depth in the field.

Will be interesting to see how many titles he has in five years time.

Betty Logan said...

28 seems to be an odd age for snooker players, it seems to make or break them: Hendry and Mark Williams lost some of their fizz at this age, and John Parrott too. Steve Davis had just suffered a second consecutive Crucible defeat and he doubled his efforts to win three more; Jimmy White had a run of five finals from around his 28th birthday; John Higgins suffered a second consecutive season without a title at 28 and had a sort of second coming after that.

Anonymous said...


Neal isn't in the dominating Mauld but i can easily see him overhauling Jimmy White's Tally of 10 Ranking titles.

when you look at players down the years of immense Talent that hardly won anything it just shows Neal Robertson is a winner.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave
How are you! Thanks for the posts. I think it is unfair Dave to compare the present champs with Steve Davis, Hendry Higgins and Parrott.
The truth is these champions along with Alex and Ronnie O were subsidised by “Tobacco Money” especially Steve Davis Hendry and Parrott.

Snooker was a brand new “Industry” not a sport with limitless funds for TV Tobacco advertising under the guise of snooker. Every ancillary business to snooker be came a multi million pound industry.

Granted these lads may well have been Champions, but there every whim and expenses were never questioned to keep the Tobacco people happy; particularly on BBC events.

Professional Players and us snooker addicts must accept that the “Bygone Days” were a Novelty period for Colour TV and the strength and rewards of advertising. Mr Hey You

kildare cueman said...

Robertsons 5 ranking titles are more noteworthy than Whites 10.

When you consider the amount of ranking events that White contested, ten is a bad return for a player of his calibre.

It is difficult to compare White to Robertson.

Shot for shot, White was classier, had better cueball control and touch, and could play with extreme side as nonchalently as he played plain ball.

He was more entertaining, and more exciting to watch, and should have been world champ as far back as 1982.

Robertson, on the other hand, is a better single ball potter, and more importantly, has a steely temperament that was sadly lacking in the whirlwind.

He(robbo), is one of the few players, along with Hendry and Murphy, who could pot his way to a title(williams has a canny tactical game).

Anonymous said...

to suggest that being the first person to defend the title would become a LEGEND for doing so has either got to be the worst joke typed on here ever, or showing up the person posting for nto having any marbles left.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr Kildare @ 12:53 pm. Hello Dave.
Please don’t take offence Mr K but the expression “Single Ball Potter” is contrary to advance snooker. The silly expression was first coined on TV (I think) by John Virgo concerning a strength in depth of Ex-champ Mark Williams.

Sadly the phrase has been used by many pro players and others as the latest “Turn of Phrase” since “Don’t forget to follow through” and “Keep your head still”.
Keen youngsters should be made aware that “Single Ball” potting belongs to learners that send the cue ball on its way carelessly without an exact address.

Please don’t take umbrage Mr K but the detail in technique is really the only difference between men and lady players. Women try too hard to play as men instead of harnessing the strengths and details in technique. Mr Hey You.

Anonymous said...

Another steaming pile of p....rubbish from DM.

I wonder when DM will actually post on topic and without mentioning finefarting.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr 7: 02 thanks again for the plug.
How are you my dear old friend; and Hello Dave. Your retorts Mr Plug and your “Lady Friend” are most welcome though a trifle vulgar for some of Dave’s church going members.

It is nice to know Sir that unlike other blog members you are not afraid to reply. There are many members’ men and women wanting to “talk talk talk” without interruption or criticism when there remark are for effect only and often untrue.

Please accept congrats Mr P and a “Wee cuddle” for your consistency and showing good grace in replies to the “Fine Art” method.

A contentious thought Mr X! If the right Reverent Jimmy White Steve Davis or a Mr Snooker Somebody was the owner of the above copyright; the game would be back to the “Tobacco Money Period”; and with the “Entertaining Snooker” a great demand for both TV viewing and snooker sponsorships. Mr Hey You

Anonymous said...

^^^^ ^^^^^^^
more rubbish