Two days ago David Hendon published this podcast on his soundcloud channel:
davehendon · Snooker Scene Podcast episode 114 – World Championship Predictions
David Hendon and Michael McMullan first reflect on Stephen Maguire’s Tour Championship win, as well as on his career so far.
They then turn their attention to the 2020 World Championship seeds and discuss who they fancy to reach the one table setup. Looking at each quarter, they each give their opinion on the chances each player has to get the the semi finals, why, and, in case they pick a different player to go through, they push the debate further until they find an agreement.
Judd Trump (1) / Qualifier
Yan Bingtao (16) / Qualifier
Stephen Maguire (9) / Qualifier
Kyren Wilson (8) / Qualifier
John Higgins (5) / Qualifier
David Gilbert (12) / Qualifier
Jack Lisowski (13) / Qualifier
Mark Allen (4) / Qualifier
Mark Williams (3) / Qualifier
Stuart Bingham (14) / Qualifier
Ding Junhui (11) / Qualifier
Ronnie O’Sullivan (6) / Qualifier
Mark Selby (7) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (10) / Qualifier
Barry Hawkins (15) / Qualifier
Neil Robertson (2) / Qualifier
In the first quarter, they both picked Judd Trump. Looking at his season as a whole, it’s a logical choice. However, he didn’t play well neither in the Championship League, nor in the Tour Championship. In the latter, his postmatch interview very much reminded me of the Judd Trump of the past. At the Crucible, a huge weight of expectations and the attention of the media will be on him. There are reasons why a first time champion has never defended successfully. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost on the first day. If we look back at the last decade, we had three first time World Champions: 2010, Neil Robertson, 2014, Mark Selby and 2015, Stuart Bingham. As defending Champions, Neil and Stuart lost in the first round, Mark Selby, who went on to win three times in four consecutive years, lost in the last 16. That’s how hard it is. My pick in that quarter would be Stephen Maguire. I don’t think pressure will be an issue in the early rounds, and he certainly is the man on form.
In the second quarter, they picked Mark Allen, and I agree. Michael McMullan makes him the favourite to win the tournament. I’m not sure about that. Mark often seems to run out of steam in the latter stages. The reason for that, in my opinion at least, is that Mark isn’t physically fit enough. The World Championship is am endurance test, mentally and physically. I’m certain that Mark has the game to be a World Champion but I’m not sure that he currently has the required stamina.
In the third quarter, Michael went for Stuart Bingham and David for Ronnie. Eventually they settled on Ronnie, but are not expecting him to go much further. Stuart and Ding are in that quarter and they had a similar season in that both won a “major” – Ding won the UK Championship, Stuart won the Masters – but didn’t do much else. Ronnie had a poor season as compared to the previous ones, but he still won the Shanghai Masters and made the final of the Northern Ireland Open. He won 77.78% of his matches so far this season. As a comparison Ding has won 67.44%, Stuart has won 57.58%, Selby despite winning two ranking tournaments is at 66.28%, Mark Allen at 69.49%, Neil Robertson at 72.86%, Shaun Murphy at 75.76% … Judd Trump, winning six ranking events, is at 82.61%. So clearly Ronnie isn’t playing badly, but he hasn’t played enough which has put him under huge pressure and, at times, it showed. To me, IF Ronnie was to reach the one table setup, he would a good chance to win the event. But he will be under pressure in the early rounds. Also, I’m not sure that he will cope with the “Bubble” conditions. He struggled in Milton Keynes and it was a much shorter event. During one of his instagram chats with Hendry, he admitted being several time on the phone with Steve Peters whilst there.
The last quarter, with Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy is loaded. They settled on Mark Selby, and Mark is also David’s pick to win the event. I’m not sure I understand why, other than the fact that, mentally, Mark is probably the best equipped for the very long formats. His form however has not really been there recently.