The new pro season begins in a fortnight’s time with the first PTC tournament in Sheffield and, in the meantime, I will be focusing on some of the players likely to play starring roles in the campaign to come, starting with the player who lit up the conclusion of last season...

Judd Trump’s sensational performance at the Crucible gave snooker a shot in the arm.

This young player’s emergence as an authentic title contender was just what the game needed, not just because he was a new face but also because of the attractive, at times extraordinary, way he plays.

It was impossible not to marvel at Trump’s shot-making. This is the way everyone would like to be able to play snooker: fearlessly and loving every minute.

Very few have the talent, though, to play the way Trump does.

Of course he broke through shortly before the World Championship by winning the China Open, where he displayed great maturity and considerable poise under pressure.

This gave him the confidence he needed to go to the Crucible and take on all comers with both a ferocious attacking game and, just as important, bags of self belief.

Trump is snooker’s new star and I have no doubt we will see plenty of him in the media as he becomes the game’s latest standard bearer. His look and attitude is perfect for promotional appearances but the main place Trump must be seen is playing snooker.

It’s all very well bigging him up but when we get to Bendigo and Shanghai, will he be put on the TV table or will – with the greatest respect – the same old faces be favoured instead?

This is important because in Trump snooker has an asset who must be pushed to the foreground.

However, none of that will guarantee him further success. That’s all up to him and in this his mindset is crucial.

Judd doesn’t strike me as unduly arrogant, quite the opposite in fact, but it’s hard not to get a big head when everyone is raving about how good you are.

In this, his background is vital. His family have grounded him well and it was noticeable how level headed Trump was after his defeat in the world final.

“You’re only remembered when you win titles,” he said. “Nobody remembers the loser. Next year there’s going to be a lot of expectation on me. There’ll be a lot of players who’ll want to bring me back down to earth.”

By recognising that he needs to keep on working and look ahead and not back at his magical month in the spotlight, Trump again shows maturity. There will be players gunning for him but it sounds as if he’ll be ready for them.

I read somewhere that Trump was a hero for the Twitter generation and think this is an apt description. He is the most popular player on the social networking site and tweets during the intervals of his matches.

In this way he can bypass traditional media and connect directly with his growing army of fans.

And like the snooker world, these many thousands will be watching intently to see what this prodigiously talented young man does next.


Anonymous said...

well what he does next is the question ?

what he has been doing of late is partying hard ;-)

Ray said...

I hope that Judd stays the same because we don't want a Billy Big Potatoes giving it large around the place. The fans soon turn against you. There are 4 perfect examples of how to behave in sport - golfers Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus and Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer. All display total humility whether winning or losing. Jack's father told him at an early age he didn't care how much he won but how he conducted himself and how he played the game.
Jimmy White has managed to keep the admiration of the fans because he shows humility.
So Judd, just concentrate on doing everything in your power over the next 10 or so years, to get every last ounce out of the god-given talent you possess. The bottom line is you can only do your best, 100% in practice and in matches. What will be will be. And I for one will be cheering you on to the echo.

jamie brannon said...

Don't think there is any doubt he will be on television tables. Only Ronnie O'Sullivan could pull a bigger crowd now.

However, some players that may fall under the bracket 'same old players' still deserve their TV table slot as their rankings and current standing as champions demand this.

Stephen Hendry is one player who does need to be overlooked more when it comes to television tables. His glory days are years ago and has never been a significant box-office attraction in the way that Jimmy White has been.

jamie brannon said...

Not saying that Trump should be overlooked for these older players.

Just that players like Williams, Higgins and Murphy are still deserving of their spots.

Bought Snooker Scene, but still no list of the actual venues for Premier League just the location.

Does anyone know what Solihull venue will be used?

Toestubber said...

Great comment Ray, one of the best ever on here. There's nothing worse in sport than triumphilism in my book. I wish more people would follow the example of those you mentioned. Humility is almost a dirty word in modern society where it seems narcissism gets you everywhere.

Mat Wilson

wild said...

i think any player that doesn't deliver the goods should be over looked for a TV Table.

we need to sell this sport to the new generation so giving tables to Hendry,White and Davis for the sake of it is pointless long term unless they really perform.

Betty Logan said...

Ultimately though broadcasters are out to maximise their viewership so they can charge higher rates for advertising spots. That is their bottom line. The older players have always been more popular in snooker because viewers bond with them. The vast number of casual viewers would rather see a 30 break and half an hour of safety from Davis than watch Mark Allen bang in a century, simply because they care more about the outcome than they do the quality. The Davis/Higgins match last year proved beyond all doubt that there is far more entertainment in drama than there is in quality. A Hendry run to a final now would be far more compelling than when he was a century conveyor belt. Ditching the golden oldies in snooker would be as successful as Cheryl Cole in America.

Anonymous said...

it doesnt stop ronnie having many fans..

jamie brannon said...

A fair point from Betty, but in the early rounds of events Hendry and Davis should not be seeing too many TV tables. White is a little different as it would be unfair on his large fanbase whp pay good money to see him.

Anonymous said...

utter nonsense jb
jw is crap in rankers

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to think Jamie is a twelve year old.

Fans of Davis and Hendry pay good money too.

Davis and Hendry have been better in the big tournaments over the last few years than Jimmy has.

Its about time we treated people on their merits and not how fast they play, or how entertaining they were 20 years ago.

jamie brannon said...

Hendry and even more so Davis have good support, but it's nothing compared to the quantity of fans Jimmy White has.

I'm not saying it would be totally right to do it - was critical of giving him entry into Premier League - but this is supply and demand.

It is not in doubt that Hendry and Davis are greater players but that is not issue - it's about bums on seats and cash for Baraay Hearn's business. This is why he shoehorned White into the Premier League as opposed to Hendry and Davis.

Anonymous said...

nobody is saying jimmy doesnt have more fans!
learn to read!
jimmy is crap in rankers and so doesnt deserve tv time any more than hendry or davis

look at the legends tour

despite many famous faces and a glam ref theyre still posting on twitter trying to fill out rather small venues

and thats with jimmy and a whole host of others

you talk pure mince jamie and thankfully the readers of this blog know it

jamie brannon said...

Yes, but that is not the point I'm making. The White decision is a purely commercial one. Hearn doesn't select him for high standard snooker but his knack of selling out venues. It is not something I support wholeheartedly but in business terms it makes sense.

It was a more an observation that it seems impractical, at times, to leave White away from a TV table. I'm not endorsing it, just explaining the reasons why it happens.

Having said all this White probably wouldn't get a TV table for his opener if two top eight players of real note were scheduled for the same slot.

Anonymous said...

sellin out venues?
read what i put about the legends tour
jimmy fills the worlds and wembley only
hes crap in major tourneys
keep him off the tv i say
he used to be a star though

Betty Logan said...

If Jimmy qualifies for the TV stage then he has as much right as anyone else to be on TV. If he's not good enough to be on TV then maybe they should reduce the TV stage to the last 16 or last 8 where he's unlikely to get that far. The first round is always a bit stagnant—journeymen keeping it tight trying to do a number on the seeds coming in cold, so if we can have a few old champs in the spotlight then that's great as far as I'm concerned. The Jimmys and Steves don't usually get past that stage anymore so it's business as usual from the second round.

Anonymous said...

rubbish betsy
its not a players right
were debating on whether he should be there ahead of others

given that he and many other stars of the past struggle to fill relatively small venues that arent even on tv then i dont think he should be on tv again unless its at latter stages

as said, he used to be great. crap now compared to most and even though i used to have him as a fav i still dont reckon he deserves tv time.