Judd Trump is my last pick as a Crucible contender and a player I have long believed could be world champion, ever since I first saw him play at the age of ten.

All ‘natural’ talents have had to work hard, and Trump is no different, but there is no doubt he seems to have an innate aptitude for snooker.

He has always had an equally large appetite for playing. Indeed, it has been his life since boyhood and, despite the trappings of success, it still excites him, just as his brand of snooker excites so many.

Some have criticised Trump’s ultra attacking style of play, usually people who have never won anything, in snooker or any other walk of life.

The truth is, he can play however he likes. It’s worked pretty well for him so far.

Stephen Hendry drew similar criticism when he broke through. Some in the game couldn’t believe he had the nerve to go for everything and, of course, pot most.

In fact, he was – laughably, looking back – labelled the ‘worst ever world champion’ in 1990 by a couple of former players.

Trump is yet to be world champion but came very close two years ago, running John Higgins to 18-15 in the final.

Last year, the wheels came off against Ali Carter. Trump led 12-9 but lost 13-12. The pressure came on. It was the end of the honeymoon.

This season he won the International Championship, plus a PTC in Bulgaria. By Christmas he had made 40 centuries but he has only made 14 since.

His season definitely dipped noticeably after losing 6-5 from 5-2 up to Mark Joyce in the first round of the UK Championship. Since then, aside from a run to the Welsh Open semi-finals, Trump’s form has not been good.

But the World Championship stands alone and there’s no reason to believe he can’t have a good run at the Crucible. What he has on his side is youth and the confidence which goes with it.

Since Ronnie O’Sullivan’s hibernation, Trump has been the go-to player for feature writers and it could work in his favour that O’Sullivan’s return have sent them all scurrying back to the defending champion, leaving Trump to prepare for the World Championship away from all the hype.

This is only Trump’s fourth Crucible appearance. On his first he was 17 and there for the experience. In 2011 he played as China Open champion and was hailed for bringing a fresh approach to the game.

Last year he was regarded as one of the favourites, as he is this year. He at least has the experience of playing in the World Championship as one of the hunted to call on.

He has the ability to obliterate opponents when scoring heavily but his tactical game is also very sound.

Like any other player this year, it’s just a question of whether or not it all comes together in sustained spells in these long matches.

If it does, Trump has every chance to make good on his long held potential.


Anonymous said...

I know this article is about Trump, but the below will also will appeal to many:

5 live Sport
Today 19:30 BBC Radio 5 live
More episodes
Ronnie's Return

1 hour, 30 minutes

First broadcast:
Thursday 18 April 2013

A 5 live Sport snooker special featuring an exclusive interview with Ronnie O'Sullivan, the four-time World Championship winner, about his life on and off the table. Including interviews with his fellow professionals and other celebrity friends.

Anonymous said...

Great piece Dave - Last autumn/winter when it became apparent that O'Sullivan wasn't going to play professionally, I remember Trump saying he felt that this was his time to start dominating the game. Obviously this didn't happen, and I think he lost confidence in realising he wasn't good enough yet (if ever to dominate) with the likes of Robertson and Selby being an equal or if not better match for him. Personally I think the games standard will remain very high and perhaps get even better, so I don't see anyone dominating and I think Trump needs to get away from this way of thinking. His time will come to become world champion I've no doubt, but with no form momentum for a long while, he's not one of my top 4 picks.

For me - Bingham/Carter (top half)
Robertson/Ding (bottom half)

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's going to be his year: he's in the toughest half of the draw, at least on paper. It really depends what sort of form Ron and John are in; if they both make the QF then I would expect the winner of that match to reach final, while Trump potentially has Shaun Murphy to get by, who is probably slight favourite off his Crucible record and form this season.

Anonymous said...

Trump . Would love to see him win but something is clearly wrong as we have seen since York. Maybe the recent success of his mate jack will spur him on. Maybe he needs to talk to andy Murray! What a semi final trump osullivan and I've got tickets so come on...

TheFish said...

Just cant see Judds gung ho attitude winning him a world title.Its great to watch but i feel he pushes the boat out just a little too often,and will eventually get found out over 17 days.Great article once again Dave,really enjoyed reading your crucible contenders peices,excellent stuff.

Anonymous said...

Bingham or carter no chance !! More like ronnie or Higgins in top half.

Anonymous said...

If Bingham or Carter happen to make the final they will be slaughtered by Robertson or Selby, whichever one gets through.

Anonymous said...

11.09 - "carter no chance" - rubbish, he's been a finalist twice in the last 5 years...personally I don't think Higgins will reach the semis...

11.22 - If Bingham or Carter got to the final, they would no doubt be playing fantastic snooker and would be a match for Robertson or Selby albeit they would start second favourite. Do you have an opinion yourself, or are you happy to stay sitting on the fence.

The Blog said...

Arguably the greatest long ball potter there's ever been but I think it's fair to say Trumpy doesn't have much of a B game when he's not playing well. His all-out-attack style doesn't help him when he's not playing too well. In this respect, players like Higgins and Selby have a slight advantage.

Judd Trump has an amazing snooker brain. Some of his attempts at laying snookers - amazing. I'm sure you'll see some at this year's WC.

I hope he does well at the event as he does light up the sport with his own brand of naughty snooker. :)

Anonymous said...

The same fantastic snooker he was playing against ronnie last year, he never went for any shots and takes advice from boring Peter ebdon and look what happened o'sullivan absolutely murdered him and in the 08 final. Not for me he feels he has to change his game against ronnie and he doesn't because he's a good player needs to stick to his strengths which is making big breaks and I can't see that happening if they meet in the last 16, carter has never beaten o'sullivan so that proves there's a mental block going on there.

Mike Mouse said...

He just needs to get his confidence back and trust in his cueing action. He's been too cautious recently.

Littlesprat said...

When playing at his best, Judd can beat anyone. But sometimes he takes his foot off the gas and allows his opponents too many chances. Lots of players now, when playing Judd, will go for the long-pot because they know they have to try and make something happen. when the long-pot goes in, they clear up. I think he would definitely have got to the final of the Haikou Open were it not for the incident with his cue tip, he had been playing brilliantly all week and for that to happen was a disaster for him. Last year at the Crucible he was ill, and although he played better in the second half of his first round match against Dominic Dale, he clearly wasn't 100% well and the pressure in the match against Carter was just too much for him. A year later, he has matured and I for one will be delighted to see him get through to the latter stages. Hopefully, he will keep his foot firmly on the gas this year and not allow his opponent so many opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Re 10.22

In fairness he was three frames away from winning it two years ago, just a couple of key balls in the difference in the end.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie, Judd and Lisowski are guaranteed to light up the event.
The rest will put all their energies in to grinding each other in to dust.

Anonymous said...

507, of those other 29 players there are quite a few who are not grinders. I wouldn't like a WC with only one style of play. Imagine everyone playing like Trump. Now that would be more boring than a best of 93 match between Selby vs Thorburn.

Ray said...

When Judd first broke through I thought here was a guy with an abundance of talent but who was genuinely modest as well - a rare occurrence in sport nowadays. But in recent times he seems to be giving it large all over the place.
I do hope this doesn't stop him achieving all he wants to in the game. Because, after all said and done, egotism is just a case of mistaken identity.

Anonymous said...

'Naughty snooker' is one of the worst phrases in anything ever.

Anonymous said...

Do you know where I can write to Judd? I want to express my gay love for him by writing a poem.

Anonymous said...

Alfred homosexual?