NEW SEASON: SNOOKER'S TRUMP CARD
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.