The 2021 Masters starts tomorrow … without Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski

Indeed the two have tested positive for covid-19 as reported by WST:

Trump And Lisowski Test Positive For Covid-19

Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski have both tested positive for Covid-19 at the Betfred Masters in Milton Keynes and have been withdrawn from the event.

Trump was due to play David Gilbert in his opening match. He has been directly replaced by Joe Perry, who will face Gilbert at 7pm on Sunday evening.

Lisowski was due to play Kyren Wilson, and he has been directly replaced by Gary Wilson. The two Wilsons will clash on 1pm on Sunday in the opening match of the tournament.

Perry and Gary Wilson were both already present at the event as reserves and have received negative test results.

WST is following extensive Covid-19 guidelines in a ‘bubble’ environment for this event. All players are tested two days in advance of their first match, and after the test they remain in isolation until the result is received.

All other players and officials tested at the event so far have had negative results.

Trump and Lisowski will now undergo a further period of self isolation and will receive the support of WST and WPBSA.

Since WST events restarted in June 2020, strict Covid-19 regulations have been and continue to be followed, under UK Government guidance.

Well … that’s 2 out of 16, and there might be more as some players have probably not yey been tested. But don’t worry, that virus is a hoax… eh?

Anyway… Ronnie had been interviewed by Phil Haigh about Judd’s domination, and how important – or not – winning the “majors” is in that context.

The Masters: Judd Trump must start racking up major titles to secure true snooker domination

The Dafabet Masters - Day Eight
Judd Trump is aiming for a second Masters title this year (Picture: Getty Images)

He’s the world number one and the finest player on the planet, but Judd Trump goes to the Masters this year still with something of a point to prove in snooker’s most prestigious events.

The 31-year-old has had a spectacular couple of years on the baize, winning the Masters for the first time in January 2019, before claiming his first World Championship title four months later.

Even in the trying and unusual times we lived in during 2020, the Bristolian won six ranking titles over the calendar year, cementing his position as world number one, a long way clear of his rivals.

However, while he may have added the English Open to his collection, retained the Northern Ireland Open and regained the World Grand Prix crown, Trump is without any of snooker’s three biggest titles.

There is some debate over the stature of the UK Championship these days, but it remains part of the Triple Crown alongside the World Championship and Masters, none of which Trump holds currently.

The Juddernaut has not won any of the three majors since his 2019 Crucible triumph, most recently losing out in the final of the UK Championship in an epic struggle with Neil Robertson in December.

Stuart Bingham heads to Milton Keynes this weekend as the defending Masters champion, while Ronnie O’Sullivan won his sixth World Championship title in Sheffield in August.

Trump’s Triple Crown tally stands at three, having won each of the events once over nearly a decade. His UK Championship triumph came back in 2011.

The current world champion thinks Judd should be aiming for many more than three major titles on his CV and has set the world number one a challenge..

‘The only thing in snooker that’s constant are the three majors,’ the Rocket told Eurosport. ‘You’d probably want to be looking at getting to maybe [Steve] Davis’ level, or [Stephen] Hendry’s – 15, 16, 17, 18 majors.

‘Obviously, the icing on the cake would be to beat my record of 20, which he’s capable of.’

The fact Trump is a long way off that tally now is no criticism, he is achieving incredible things in snooker and producing performances as good as any we have ever seen.

His displays have created plenty of talk of Trump dominating snooker and making this part of the sport’s history his own.

Hendry said as Trump thrashed John Higgins in the World Championship final: ‘It’s just such a dominant performance from Judd and we could be starting to see a new era of dominance by a new player,’

World Snooker Championship - Day 17
Trump’s stunning 18-9 win over John Higgins in the Crucible final took him to world number one (Picture: Getty Images)

However, he can’t really claim to be dominating anything without stamping his authority on the biggest events in the sport on a regular basis.

Novak Djokovic or Serena Williams could be clear at the top of the tennis world rankings, but it would be very tough to argue they were dominating their sport if they didn’t hold any of the Grand Slams. The same point can be made in golf with the four majors.

Snooker is different because there is not a set of major titles with the same weighting and prestige. The World Championship stands above all else, followed by the Masters and then the UK Championship taking third spot.

But while the Triple Crown is recognised and promoted as such, they will be considered the majors, and as O’Sullivan says, that is how players will be judged.

With ranking events more numerous than ever, the sheer number of total titles does not mean quite what it did in the past, and while Trump’s achievement of 20 ranking titles is stunning, it is his Triple Crown titles he will be truly judged on at the end of his career.

With the amount of tournaments that are around today, I think [Judd’s] got to be looking at 60 to 70 ranking event titles,’ said O’Sullivan.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 17: Judd Trump (L) of England shakes hands with Ronnie O'Sullivan of England prior to their final match on day seven of 2019 Northern Ireland Open at Waterfront Hall on November 17, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Tai Chengzhe/VCG via Getty Images)
Trump has beaten O’Sullivan in the last three Northern Ireland Open finals (Picture: Getty Images)

When [Stephen] Hendry was doing it and I was doing it, we might have played 10 ranking events, but I think Judd is playing 20 ranking events [a season].

If Hendry did 36 ranking events and I did 37, you’d probably have to say he’s got to be looking to at least make 60 or 65. If he was to get to 70 or 75 then pro rata, you’d have to say that’s the greatest record of all-time.’

Time is on Trump’s side, he is only 31-years-old, and as O’Sullivan proved at the age of 44 this summer, it is possible to perform at the top level as you edge towards the half century.

Of the 16 men in the Masters this year, only three are younger than Trump – Kyren Wilson, Yan Bingtao and Jack Lisowski – so he will have plenty more opportunities to lift big trophies, and the task may get a touch easier as his older rivals inevitably decline.

Trump may spend the next 10-15 years picking up the odd Triple Crown title every season or two and finish with a fabulous collection when he hangs up his cue, but for this to truly go down as the Trump era, they must start coming more regularly.

True domination is extremely hard. O’Sullivan has never managed it, neither have the likes of John Higgins or Mark Williams. The last man to be dominant was Hendry, before that Davis, and even then they did not win everything, there are just too many good players in the game.

Trump is capable of dominating the sport as much as any one player can, and it feels like he is on the verge of doing so, but Triple Crowns are the only way he can take the next step, not only to domination but to crossover recognition.

There is no argument against Trump being the best snooker player of 2020, but it was world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan who was nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, not Judd.

The 2021 Masters could be Judd’s next step to truly ruling the roost.

The Masters gets underway on Sunday afternoon with Trump beginning his campaign against Dave Gilbert in the first round.

Well that’s not gonna happen just yet now…

And BTW, Ronnie is absolutely right when he points out that comparing numbers of titles, without taking the number of available events into account is misleading.

The same goes about the number of centuries made by a player. The only real indicator there is the ratio (nb frames played)/(nb centuries). The lower the ratio , the better. The record of centuries in a season belongs to Neil Robertson in 2013/14. He made 103 of them, playing in 18 events, and his ratio was 8.17. In 2007/2008, Ronnie made “only” 49 centuries, but his ratio was 7.82, playing in only 7 events., five of them ranking … and it’s not as if there were many more events to play in. The only ranking event that Ronnie missed that season,  was the Shanghai Masters.

4 thoughts on “The 2021 Masters starts tomorrow … without Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski

  1. Well well, well. Someone posted at the end of December to have seen in Instagram Trump’s story: “AND HE IS OUT PARTYING WITH ABOUT 50 OTHERS YET ALL OF US ARE TRYING OUR HARDEST TO SOCIAL DISTANCE!”

    Well, this is annoying as we can’t go out to have pint because of the Draconian rules and also irresponsible, so that’s the way the cookie crumbles… What poor Lisowski did, I don’t know… I’m happy for Perry to play, I wonder if poor Gary Wilson will go even more mental with more time in the bubble.

    I was not too hot on the Triple Crown idea, looked at it as mainly a BBC-thing, but now that they emphasize its importance together with that Trump has only 3 and will be judged by the tally, I’m a fan of the concept! 🙂 I’m really disturbed by Ronnie’s frequently expressed admiration for Trump and his “domination”: until now Higgins was the second coming, now he trumps up Trump (pun intended). Maybe he talks as a “pundit” for Eurosport or the doyen of the game, but it is just too much admiration for a fellow-player who is also his potential opponent and it feels that when they play Ronnie already goes there defeated or expecting to be defeated – I don’t mean he gives up, doesn’t try or anything like this, but having some kind of mental block against him. I always root against Trump, that’s a given, but I don’t want to root against him so that Ronnie can avoid him.

  2. Well, not exactly – it could be argued that Roberton’s average was maintained over more frames (a greater sample size), but then we’re getting into statistics and square roots, etc…!

    Of course, it’s a big shock to lose Trump and Lisowski on the eve of the Masters. It does damage the tournament, which could now feel like just another week in Milton Keynes, with the No.1 excluded. Thankfully, there are replacements, albeit not exactly players who would attract the audiences in the same way as those they are replacing.

    Let’s hope the two don’t suffer any covid symptoms, particularly Lisowski who has had health problem in the past.

    • To be fair going partying in Dubai wasn’t exactly a smart move by Trump. And, yes I had that same thought about Jack. Although they are friends they have not spent any time together, Joe Perso those are two :independent” cases so to speak. Joe Perry might not be the most enthralling player to watch, but he might do well in the coming week.

      • Well the BBC will like Joe Perry, someone their audience will know. And Gary Wilson at least had a run to the Crucible semi-final, as I’m sure Dennis Taylor will remind us.

        The replacements mean that it will be the oldest Masters since 1980, with average age 38.2. This despite the presence of the youngest player since 2009 (Trump was a wildcard, but ranked 42).

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