Coronavirus messages – Neil Robertson and Ronnie

The coronavirus has been dominating the news and impacted our lives for several weeks now. It’s the same for everyone, including snooker players.

According to “The Sun” Neil Robertson is offering to help other snooker players who face temporary problems because of the lack of earnings:


Neil Robertson offers financial help to fellow snooker stars affected by coronavirus shutdown

KIND-HEARTED Neil Robertson has offered to financially help any struggling snooker players during the coronavirus crisis.

Australia’s 2010 world snooker champion says he would support close pals if they find it hard to pay their mortgage before the rescheduled World Championships this July.

Robertson and Trump

Neil Robertson (pictured to the left) wants to offer financial help to snooker players who have been affected by the coronavirus crisis. The 2010 world snooker champion has earned more than £900,000 over the past two years.Credit: Getty Images – Getty

World No 2 Robbo said: “Should any struggle or need advancement for their prize money at the worlds, then they can pay me back as soon as they get paid from World Snooker. It’s no problem.

“If a player I know came to me and said, ‘Look, I’m really struggling to pay my bills, are you all right to front me as a guarantor for the first round of the worlds?’ Well, I’d do that no problem. Absolutely.”

Snooker chiefs have set up a hardship fund against future prize money for those down the rankings.

Some people in the UK may have mental health issues and we’ve seen the best and worst of humanity. People are trying to be generous and help elderly people.

Neil Robertson

Robertson, 38, who earned £915,000 over the past two years, knows how fortunate he has been and is willing to help out the baize community.

“Some people in the UK may have mental health issues and we’ve seen the best and worst of humanity. People are trying to be generous and help elderly people. In Cambridge where I live, everyone’s pulling together.”

The Crucible showpiece was supposed to start on April 18 but will be moved to July 25.

It could be staged behind closed doors in Sheffield or with restrictions in place for the crowd.

With Premier League football on hold, the Tokyo Olympics postponed and Wimbledon cancelled, top-class snooker could save our summer.

Left-hander Robertson and world No 1 and defending champion Judd Trump were the men in form before the tour was postponed.

But Robertson reckons maverick Ronnie O’Sullivan might fancy his prospects of winning a sixth crown.

The Thunder from Down Under said: “Snooker is a very good TV sport. And it’s probably more equipped to deal with this situation than maybe other sports.

“Lifting a major trophy in front of an empty stadium would be a very strange feeling.

“But then you’d rather do that than not play at all. It’s a tough balance.

“Form goes out of the window now. It’s like starting a new season. We cannot do exhibitions or smaller events to get match sharpness.

“It could be wide open. Myself and Judd were clear favourites from the end of the season.

“But I feel Ronnie has a better chance than maybe if he had been busy in the second half of the season. He’s one who would be the favourite should it go ahead.

“A crowd plays a massive part with Ronnie. It can get on top of his opponent but at the same time, sometimes they can get on him if he’s not entertaining.

“At the same time, he won’t have the pressure from the crowd. Sometimes they can get on him if he’s not entertaining.

“When you watch Barcelona play you want to see Lionel Messi score two goals. If he hasn’t after 80 minutes you can perhaps get restless.

“But if the tournament goes ahead with full safety guaranteed, it’d be better to play than not at all.”

Robertson, who is sponsored by Dental Centre Turkey, is able to practise three times a week at his Essex club with no one else around.

This lockdown period has allowed him plenty of time with his wife and two young children.

He added: “When I do start playing again it’s important to be sharp. A long break can cause long-term damage to a player’s technique.

“It can be dangerous for a snooker player to go 2-3 months without even touching a cue.”

This is a genuinely kind gesture from Neil who is one of the nicest and more positive person on the tour.

Meanwhile, this was published on Youtube:

The channel/user behind it is named “Covid 19” and the associated link brings you to the WHO site on the page offering info about the pandemics.

I’m not too sure what to make of this. Ronnie doesn’t look great in there. Maybe it’s just because the camera is fitted with a wide-angle lens, and the focus is poor, but he appears rather fat and out of shape, physically and mentally.

He thanks China for the help they sent to Italy and praises their response to the crisis. Both of it makes sense knowing how much Ronnie loves China and keeping in mind that his mother is Sicilian.

China indeed sent equipment and doctors to Italy at the worse of the epidemics. One interesting thing I read about that “mission” to Italy, is that one on the most experienced  Chinese doctors said that we, in Europe, were making the same mistake that they had made in Wuhan at the start of the epidemic: putting people with mild symptoms in self-isolation at home. Even if those people try their best to self-isolate, very few of them actually live alone at home and, despite everyone’s best efforts, they are bound to contaminate others in the same household. He said that some time into the crisis, they had come to understand that, despite the Chinese respecting the social distancing measures much better than most Europeans do, spreading continued and as much as 80% of contamination happened inside families. They then started systematic testing and isolation for everyone coming up positive in ad-hoc facilities, no matter how mild the symptoms were. That resulted in a very fast decrease in new cases.

Going back to Neil’s article and his views on Ronnie’s chances, should the World Championship be played end July, I’m again in two minds about it. Ronnie is rather fragile mentally and I’m afraid that all the anxiety around these epidemics might affect him badly. On the other hand, not being seen as a favourite and not having the media attention, would probably help him. Also, in the past, when the season only started in September, Ronnie used to do very well in the first event of the season: he seemed to need less time than most to brush off the cobwebs.

Judd Trump, on the other hand, has been busy talking to Stephen Henry on Instagram a few days back and it was reported by the press. He insisted that the World Championship can’t be played behind closed doors and wrote Ronnie’s chances off. That was before Barry Hearn announcement.

Regarding that announcement, the dates Barry secured overlap with the dates announced for the postponed Tour Championship. I’m not sure how that’s going to work. Judd Trump is the seed n°1 in both events and all eight players involved in the Tour Championship are seeded at the Crucible, but their seeding could still change.

Should both events go ahead, this means two things:

  1. That because the draw of the World Championship can’t be made before the definitive seeding is known, it may cause a major issue as it might not happen until the second day of the World Championship is completed, and, whatever happens, it will certainly make the promotional media work extremely difficult.
  2. Should Judd Trump reach the final in Llandudno, there is no way that he could start his defence on the first day of the World Championship. This won’t go down well will the people who bought tickets for the morning and evening session of the opening Saturday, knowing that the defending Champion was due to play.  It may also not particularly please the sponsors and the BBC






18 thoughts on “Coronavirus messages – Neil Robertson and Ronnie

  1. No, it’s not a matter of beliefs, it’s a matter of facts. Nothing will ever change and viruses will re-emerge until everybody keeps praising the Chinese for how amazing they are. Once again, they are responsible for this.

      • Once again, it’s one source, American I guess going by the name. Hardly a neutral opinion if this is indeed the case. Now, fo the second time: let’s agree to disagree.

    • Neither you nor me know all the facts. It’s about which reporting you chose to believe. The WHO reports certainly don’t go in the direction of your opinion. What is a fact is that the UK and US chose ignore the past experience with such epidemics tp protect their economy and lost several weeks allowing it to spread. They were slow at implementing testing, and lax in enforcing isilation measures. It will cost thousands of lives. Where China is “guilty” is not in the way they handled the epidemic, it’s in still allowing “wet markets” where wild animals were on sale in these days and time. They changed the law now. Changing habits in remote part of the country might prove more difficult.

      • okay, let’s just agree that at least we shouldn’t praise and admire them. they don’t deserve it.

  2. Come on Monique, Ronnie was clearly sarcastic in that video, you can tell from his gestures. He is very intelligent and no-one in their right mind thinks that China has done any good. They set the virus loose and they should be reprimanded for it, as Ronnie has just done.

    • You are completely wrong, on all accounts. Yes the epidemics started in China. But they didn’t “set it loose”,they were unable to contain it as it was a new kind of virus and it took some time to undrstand it. And, yes they did very well, much better than the UK and US certainly. Their expeience with SARS prompted them to limit travel and isolate people as soon as they understood the situation. The UK and US on the contrary, despite knowing what was coming because China and WHO warned the rest of the world, chose to do nothing for several weeks. They put thousand of people at risk in a bid to protect economy over people’s lives. When it became obvious that was going bad, they then “advised” people to take protection measures, until again, it was so bad that they had to enforce it. I’m neither a “communist”, nor a fan fo China. They aren’t great when it comes to human rights. But they certainly did the right thing in this instance. And Ronnie loves China, has many friends there, has Chinese sponsors. He wasn’t being sarcastic. And he certainly appreciated China’s support to Italy. His mother is Sicilian.

      • Monique, jesus christ, you are not serious. They did an abysmal, terrible, disgusting job in the beginning. They actively tried to ignore the whole thing, do you not remember the case of the doctor who first told officials about the virus? He was silenced and reprimanded. Then he died. Same thing happened with SARS back then. And no, they are not helping anybody. The Dutch and many more governments have said that a huge part of the medical supplies they sent there was of such low quality it was unusable. So yes, the Chinese government has blood on its hands and it should not be ignored, not even on a snooker blog. I don’t even believe I had to write this down.

  3. Normally with these things i have a strong opinion on what was said however i cant really disagree much with what they have put down as the 10 i would change it a tad and put Ronnie ahead of Higgins but there is no doubt the top 4 speak for themselves 12 Ranking Tournaments out of 14 won (not counting shootout for obvious reasons) Trump (6) Robertson, Murphy, Selby (2) with only Ding Junhui (UK) and Yan Bingtao (Riga) the only other winners.

  4. Ronnie appeared relatively out of shape this entire season. I think he said he couldn’t exercise as much (because of injuries), but I also found it interesting that he didn’t talk much about nutrition or fitness at all this season (after talking about that stuff pretty consistently for the past few seasons).

    I wonder if he was a bit depressed and lacking in motivation after the breakup with Laila last year at around this time…

  5. I Think Barry Hearn comes over a desperate to put any old shit on and in turn create a farce.

    Snooker will be back like every other thing in life but it will take time to get there you really cant rush this.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong in saying well sorry but the World Championship wont be played this year its out of everyones hands and then he can start planning properly for how hes going to unravel this puzzle when the World gets back to normal.

    • Let’s be optimistic. This is scheduled for 25 July – 15 weeks from now. I do think there’s a chance a snooker tournament can be held then, with restrictions I am sure. The Chinese are holding a National 9-Ball Pool tournament this month. Barry Hearn has the job of arranging snooker tournaments and promoting the game. Anyone in his position should be attempting to do something. The only way it would be a farce is if it had to be postponed at very short notice or abandoned halfway through (if someone fell ill).

      • No chance by then we not close to getting this under control where as in China they have.

        I Realize Barry has a Job to do but lets have realistic goals and not pipe dream there is a chance if we get out of this too early almost desperately it will return and abandoned event would be a possibility.

        We are in lockdown and we will remain so until May at least then slowly and hopefully by then things will be relaxed but by no means it will be relaxed by then to be able to hold the WC Qualifiers i reckon Theatres and Sport will be the last thing to be relaxed. just as they were the first to be affected.

        you might argue they could play behind close doors but the WC Qualifiers will mean a lot of players in one room together cant see it happening by july.

        we are in this for the long haul mate.

  6. I’m not sure about Neil Robertson’s offer – I don’t know where it leads. It would be better to start a fund, and give a donation. But no question he is genuine, and knows very well the difficulties players have.

    What happens with the Tour Championship and World Championship qualifiers (and even the Crucible event itself) probably haven’t even been considered yet. The initial proposal is for a 2-week World Championship at the Crucible, sponsored by BetFred, shown on BBC. Details to follow…

  7. “… Ronnie doesn’t look great in there. …… he appears rather fat and out of shape, physically and mentally. …..Ronnie is rather fragile mentally….” Do you think you write normal things? I don’t think so!

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