Judd Trump is an unlikely person to be at the centre of a Twitter storm.
A polite young man, he is not one for courting controversy.
He didn’t enter the Australian Goldfields Open but must have been watching on Eurosport earlier today when Peter Ebdon took nearly five hours to beat Ding Junhui 5-4.
“How Peter Ebdon is allowed to play that slow is a joke,” was Judd’s observation on Twitter.
Within seconds he was being roundly insulted for stating his opinion.
It seems odd that members of the public can spend all day, every day on Twitter or internet forums criticising and commenting on every aspect of a player – their playing style, their appearance, even their personal lives – but when a player himself ventures an opinion he is treated to vitriol.
Trump remained silent when other players used Twitter to openly state he was lucky and therefore not as good as people have said.
Last time I looked he was second in the world rankings and UK champion. Not bad for a 22 year-old.
It’s natural he will attract jealousy: he’s young, talented and popular. Not everyone likes the ‘playboy’ image he has cultivated but this is mainly ironic.
And, anyway, he can live his life however he chooses.
Of course, even moderately paced potters will seem slow to Trump because he plays the game so quickly.
Ebdon is archly methodical. His average shot time today was 38 seconds, compared with Ding’s 26.
There is no slow play rule in snooker. There is a rule which covers time wasting, in the discretion of the referee who can warn a player to hurry up.
I can understand how a player such as Trump would be frustrated watching a much slower player but I also feel Ebdon deserves immense credit for the effort he makes.
It’s not always pretty but his record speaks for itself: world and UK champion, nine ranking titles, more than 300 century breaks.
If everyone played the game the way he did then snooker would not be the commercial prospect it is but there is surely room for different playing styles, different approaches and, yes, different speeds.
There should also be room for different opinions, and Judd Trump is as entitled to his as anybody. As a player, he has an insight worth listening to.
As long as opinions are expressed without undue personal malice or in a defamatory way then players have as much right as anyone else to tell us what they think.