Judd Trump, by beating Peter Ebdon 9-1 in the semi-finals of the International Championship in Chengdu today, has become snooker’s new world no.1, only the tenth player to hold this position since the world rankings were introduced in 1976.

He is in good company, joining Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby.

The ranking system has changed various times in the last 36 years. The latest incarnation before the present one was a two year list which strictly became official at the end of each season. The current system sees the list change after each event.

Even so, this is a great achievement of which 23 year-old Trump should be rightly proud. I think most players would prefer being world champion to world no.1 because it is the pinnacle of the sport and a very public triumph. However, you don’t have to choose. You can be both.

How long will Trump remain at the top? The current system keeps everyone on their toes and he is less than 1,000 points ahead of Selby at the moment, although that margin will increase if he beats Shaun Murphy or Neil Robertson in Sunday’s final.

Trump has had a magnificent couple of years. His great run began when he won the 2011 China Open and immediately reached the world final. Last season he added the UK Championship to his roll of honour.

He had been a breath of fresh air for the game, with his audacious shot-making and all out attacking style.

It doesn’t always pay dividends of course, but that is all part of the excitement. One of the things I really like about Trump is that he understands televised sport is also supposed to be entertainment, and like Jimmy White before him he will play exhibition shots to entertain the crowd when the frame is well won.

He was probably the first player to realise that Twitter was a way of building a profile.

Of course, if you dredge the swamp of nitwittery for long enough you will hear all manner of derogatory comments, along the lines that Trump is actually just lucky, not as good as people say and wins because he whacks the balls so hard.

Blah, blah, blah. Successful people attract jealousy from unsuccessful people. Trump can take it as a compliment that there has been sniping. There will be more: as world no.1 he is there to be shot at.

It was ever thus. Steve Davis is now universally lauded as a legend but 30 years ago large sections of the crowd couldn’t wait for him to lose. Many people find excellence difficult to relate to.

We take our greats for granted. Trump will join the greats if he becomes world champion.

He has the confidence and the game to do this. For the moment, he is out in front, a Bristol boy made good, on top of the world.


Anonymous said...

well done judd trump..but time will tell if he is a great..i love watching trump play but i think he speaks to quick like saying he feels he will beat murphy or robertson in the final..in saying that he has recovered well from the higgins defeat last month..that could have knocked the stuffing out of him but i watched the match on youtube as eurosport didnt show final and trump didnt do much wrong..id love to see a trump robertson final as i cant call who would win..my big unrelated question is will o sullivan get invited to the masters considering he isnt in the top 16 or does he qualify as world champuon??

Anonymous said...

He's had trouble matching his achievements of 2011, and his ranking is largely down to that good year and his 2010 points dropping off, but he's a better number 1 then Selby. In truth though it's still a slightly hollow achievement—as it was with Selby—because O'Sullivan and Higgins are still perceived as a class apart, and Trump is going to have to start winning titles regularly to be seen in their league.

Anonymous said...

Trump is lucky. Lucky that he's better than most of his opponents ;)

Also, will winning the World Championship make Trump a 'great'? Murphy isn't considered by most to be a great and he is a UK and World Champion. Having both, along with China Open title, makes Trump a good player, but he needs more to be a 'great' (imo).

Still well done, Judd. Now he just needs to hold it for a length of time. Not much point being WN1 if it only lasts until the next PTC.

Richie Segal said...

Ronnie is no 2 seed at the Masters (if he plays)

Anonymous said...

Also, will winning the World Championship make Trump a 'great'? Murphy isn't considered by most to be a great and he is a UK and World Champion.

No, the rule is you have to win two world titles to be one of the "greats".

Anonymous said...

A pleasure to watch today.

At least you know with Judd you will probably be entertained.

Unlike some sessions I have spent dozing off in those comfortable chairs at the Crucible...

Anonymous said...

Right. And I especially like the part of "jealousy". Right twice.

Anonymous said...

how is Ronnie class apart hes not even playing your only as good as your last match

Simon Bedford 4-3 Ronnie O'Sullivan

Anonymous said...

how can ronnie be number 2 seed for the masters when he is out of the top 16??i thought he is only ranked 2nd for ranking tournaments,,its unfair to the player ranked 16th if that the case as ronnie shows contempt for the game

jamie brannon said...

So is Jimmy White not a great then?

Graeme Dott is most definitely not. I think it boils down to your overall CV, but it is very unlikely you could be considered great without a world title.

I think there's a good chunk who don't like excellence, but O'Sullivan still retains a big fanbase and is not taken for granted. The same can be said of Roger Federer, tennis' most popular current player.

I'm sure Hendry once said he regarded being at the top of the rankings as being more important than being world champion, wonder if he'd say the same thing now looking back on his achievements?

Anonymous said...

"cue" the jealous ronnie fans who slag trump as hes "not ronnie"

well guess what, ronnie isnt alex, the original and best!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has won the World Champs IS most definitely a great.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy White is not one of the greats. A great player, yes, but not one of "the greats". Some of us might not want to admit it to ourselves—and I understand why—but in our hearts we all know it. He had opportunities to win it at least twice where he effectively had his opponent beaten, but couldn't quite land it. That is ultimately what separates the all-time greats from the rest.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has won the World Champs IS most definitely a great.

The fact is, it's just not true. I would agree that you have to be a very good player to win it, but ultimately anything can happen in a single tournament: you can hit a streak of form or come through a relatively weak field, but only the 'greats' can reproduce those types of achievements, so that's why you need to win it twice. That's not just my opinion, that is the view of John Higgins.

Anonymous said...

Of course Jimmy is a great. It was mainly the fact that he met the GREATEST at the Crucible on so many occasions that he didn't lift the big one. Before the statisticians jump on this post, I know Hendry wasn't his only WC final opponent! Winning the World IS a criteria but not the only one.

Graeme said...

Hendry undoubtedly the greatest champion.
That said, when it comes to being able to play the game with genuine flair and panache, then it's O'Sullivan by a mile.
The main difference being Hendry's ability to maintain the highest standard for sustained periods. O'Sullivan is able to exceed Hendry's best but for shorter periods. But A game v A game, then it's O'Sullivan.
Trump's confidence can't be faulted in my opinion. Nothing wrong with believing you'll beat whatever opponent you should meet in the final, or both of them as he said !
Hendry, after his first round exit to Thorne in '86 when he was 17, predicted (correctly) he would win the WC within 5 years.
Confidence is everything.
Trump is great for the game, that's for sure.

Graeme said...

White's WC destiny can be distilled to one shot.
'82 WC semi v Higgins
He missed a red with the rest in to the right hand black pocket whilst 59 ahead. Had it dropped, a pink would have followed and with it the match, 16-14. No doubt he would have gone on as Higgins did to beat Reardon in the final.
As it was, Higgins was given the opportunity to compile his historic 69 clearance. Shortly after, ran away with the decider.
Certain if White won in '82, many more would have followed.
Such are the winning / losing margins.

Anonymous said...

I'm always slightly perplexed by the assumption that White would have beaten Reardon in the final. For one it assumes Jimmy wouldn't have bottled it despite the extra pressure; secondly the final wasn't all one-way traffic, and Reardon was only edged out by Higgins—if a couple of close frames had gone the other way the result might have been different; and three, Reardon and White came up against each other in the Professional Players Tournament later that year and Reardon won it.

Can147 said...

Jimmy White has 10 ranking titles to his name...doesn't that count for anything despite the world championship not being one of the titles? He has to be regarded as one of greats. His immense impact on the game has to be a factor as well. Here are the greats from the modern game...Reardon, A.Higgins, Spencer, S.Davis, White, Hendry, J.Higgins, O'Sullivan. Ebbon as much as I hate to consider him is very close to being in that exclusive club. Thorburn is on the frindge too...
Does anyone know if there is a Hall of Fame in Snooker?

Claus said...

Eat crow Captain Carter! He was busy trashing Judd and his 'it's not all about potting balls from everywhere, is it' remark sounded foolish then and even more so now. Congrats young mam.

Can147 said...

Forgot to add Williams to my list of greats...btw, mark not rex...lol

Anonymous said...

I think its mainly because Reardon was 49 (and his eyes were going) - but fair point - people forget that the score in the 1982 final was 18-15.

Dave, I see that pdf subscriptions to Snooker Scene are now available. Although these are marked as "for overseas subscribers" is / will it be possible for UK customers to buy a pdf only subscription? Also are back issues available as pdfs?

kildare cueman said...

Im glad Trump has replaced the tedious Selby at the top. He's a great advertisement for snooker, and along with Robbo, is the only one playing near the level of Higgins and O'Sullivan.

Anonymous said...

I like Judd's style of play but not the sometimes farcical comments that comes out of his mouth. Not to mention his lack of class when beaten. Case in point? The Masters semi this year where he called Neil a "slow" player. Neil. Slow. Go figure.

About the tag 'great' - Joe Johnson was a world champion but not many would call him a great. Neil and Shaun both need at least another world title or to complete the Triple Crown (Shaun needs the Masters; Neil the UK) to be considered on that level.

They have the game so i wont be surprised to see that happen. Along with Ding Junhui, Mark Allen and Judd Trump, you would expect the next few world titles to be snatched up by these 5. The likes of Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire need to be considered too but both have been relative disappointments at the Crucible. I dont think frankly the old guard of Mark Williams, John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan will capture beyond more than one world title among them from now on to be honest. Between John and Ronnie, it will be interesting to see who gets his 5th crown or will Mark stage one final hurrah himself. Always though Mark underachieved with only 2 world titles in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

jamie brannon

Dott is somewhere in between. 3 world finals and 1 crown not something to be sniffed at. He needs maybe another world title or the UK and the Masters to be considered one.

Anonymous said...

Dott (and Ebdon along with Doherty), and I suppose Murphy, Robertson and Ding at this stage are what you would consider "world class". There are a whole bunch of players that can go in this category actually, but while they are not "greats" they are (or have been) world title contenders, and have achieved in some of the most prestigious tournaments. I would put Jimmy and Paul Hunter in this bracket too. I suppose Joe Johnson was too for a brief period, beating Steve Davis at his peak in the world final and then almost doing it again can't be dismissed. Someone like Ali Carter I would discount despite his two world finals, because it has never looked remotely possible he could win one of the big titles (his two world finals were foregone conclusions). Trump is clearly playing at a world class level now, but probably needs to seriously challenge in a couple more major finals to be regarded as an authentic world class player; winning the International Championship and becoming number 1 would probably seal it.

Anonymous said...

The difference is these days the world number 1's aren't as good because they haven't been able to win the world championship! In the old days they had ALL won at least one world championship, now it seems they aren't good enough to even do that. Who cares who is world number one? It isn't any sporting achievement, snooker is about WINNING TOURNAMENTS and the best player is one that has won loads and AT LEAST one world title. If Trump thinks he can be the best player in the world without winning the world title then he's an idiot, the title of world number one is pure politics and NOT a sporting achievement!

JIMO96 said...

A good way to measure the 'greats' of the game is to ask if they've won the triple crown (World, UK, Masters). That places Hendry, Steve Davis, O'Sullivan, John Higgins,Williams, Griffiths and Alex Higgins in the elite.

On a secondary level, you have the players who have won 2 of those titles and been runner-up in a third. Enter White, Parrott, Matthew Stevens, Shaun Murphy and Doug Mountjoy.

You can add (in my opinion) Fred & Joe, Donaldson, Reardon, Spencer & Thorburn, who would have all won the triple crown had they been played in their day (or in Thorburns case, if he'd been British).

So there's 18 players that would fit comfortably into "hall of fame" status. Sorry if I've missed any obvious ones out....Trump and Robertson are very close to joining, as are Ding Junhui and Selby.

You could argue a case too for: Doherty (winner of 1, runner up in the other 2), Dennis Taylor (winner of 2, plus Grand Prix winner....a "major" in it's day, arguably), Dott (one of those players who genuinely raises his game for the Crucible only....Johnson did this too, but not over a sustained period)

That would be my list anyway, it's all a matter of opinion.

Anonymous said...

748, with all due respect i would never class joe j as a great just because he won a WC

ok, he was very good, but really only in my opinion for a year and a half.

to put him up there with real greats like hendry, davis, higgins and higgins wouldnt be right

Anonymous said...

the greats are those who won the most tournaments in their career and jimmy white is one of the greats and a world champion to be that seniors..their are five or six above him but until judd wins more ranking titles howcan he be considered a great..he is a great in the making but robertson has become a great and if he pushes his titles to 10 plus ranking events well then thats a great..but in saying all this anyone who wins a ranking tournament today is a great player considering the amazing competition and talent on the circuit i mean the standard is awesome..ive watched snooker now for 27 years and the last 6 yrs ive watched every tournaments latter stages and snooker has never been better than now..

Anonymous said...

I never said I count JJ as 'great' because he won a world championship, I count him as world class because he won it once, and almost won it again and in both cases against the best player of the era. Any player on the tour can have a fluke run in a tournament, but it's harder to explain it away if it happens again. In those two tournaments he put away Davis, Hendry, Higgins, Griffiths and Tony Knowles, so some tough draws then.

kildare cueman said...

I'd have the 3 giants of the 70's, Higgins, Reardon and Spencer. Obviously Davis and Hendry, and the noughties trio of Williams, Higgins and O'Sullivan. You could throw Jimmy in for longevity, character and entertainment value.
Robbo might make it but Trump definitely will. He still misses an odd one under P but recently seems to move up a gear at the very end of a final - always an encouraging sign. Think Ding, Murphy and Selby have missed the boat but are still exceptionally good.

jamie brannon said...

Graeme Dott has won two major tournaments. That is not what great players in any sport are meant to achieve.

As for White, I happen to think he is a great player as he has won around thirty tournaments, several of them big ones.

Anonymous said...

jamie brannon said...
Graeme Dott has won two major tournaments. That is not what great players in any sport are meant to achieve.


i didnt know there was a rule book.
can i see it please?