With the imminent return of competitive professional snooker this was to be expected: Phil Haigh is at it again and has been speaking with Judd Trump … about what it’s like playing Ronnie.
Judd Trump relishes the Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘argy-bargy and mind games’
Judd Trump says playing Ronnie O’Sullivan is ‘not like a game of snooker’ but he relishes the challenge of the ‘argy-bargy and mind games’ that come with taking on the Rocket.
The world number one has an excellent record against the six-time world champion, winning his last three matches against O’Sullivan to give him a winning record in the head-to-head.
Trump has won five of his last six meeting with the Rocket, including the Masters final and three finals of the Northern Ireland Open, and says facing O’Sullivan in showpiece matches, in front of rowdy crowds is ideal for him.
Facing the sport’s most popular figure in front of a full house would be intimidating for many, but Trump loves the challenge, which is unlike anything else in the sport.
‘Whenever there is a crowd in town – it hasn’t been the same for the last 18 months – you want to play Ronnie because the atmosphere is different class and everyone gets behind him,’ Trump told Sporting Life.
‘For me, that spurs me on to go out there and shine and take away his fans. I know it’s going to be a bigger audience when Ronnie’s around, so for me it’s an extra chance to show what I can do.
‘It’s completely different to playing anyone else. If you’re playing any other player, you just play your own game, but when you’re playing him, it’s like you’re playing in his show.
‘He really feels like he owns the table and it can be quite difficult to play against. His mannerisms and everything, he’s quite in your face; it’s not like a game of snooker, there’s a bit of argy-bargy and mind games going on at the same time. It’s a massive match-up.’
Judd and Ronnie have met just once on the biggest stage in the game, with O’Sullivan winning 17-11 in the semi-finals of the 2013 World Championship.
Trump has gone on to great success since then though, winning the world title in 2019, and fans would love to see the two biggest draws in the game currently clash once again at the Crucible.
Both Trump and O’Sullivan are entered into the Championship League, starting on Sunday, with the world number one not playing till 6 August in Group One, while the Rocket is in action on 20 July in Group 32.
Participation is not confirmed yet, but both are expected to be playing in the British Open in August and could face each other at any stage with a random draw being made at the end of each round.
There will be no seedings in the tournament that boasts a top prize of £100,000 so top players can meet at any stage at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
Shown live on ITV, the event runs from 16-22 August
This is an interesting interview because Judd’s perception is quite astonishing, Well, it is to me at least.
I’m not sure how Judd Trump perceives his own game, but in my eyes, there is no player currently on the tour who is more “in your face” than himself.
Also the bit about “taking away his fans” is a bit baffling to me: I’m not sure that many Ronnie fans in the audience warm to Judd when he is in the process of beating their favourite player, no matter how well Judd might be playing. Quite the opposite in fact. It was the same with the Hendry fans back in the days: the vast majority would stay with their man no matter what.
Also, it’s not about being a fanboy, or a fangirl: a lot of true snooker fans appreciate certain players more than others because they are attracted by the way they play.
Ronnie’s game is daring, but it’s also and mainly about cue ball control, putting the white exactly where he wants it, making it all look simple, easy, natural. That’s what I like most about his game, and that’s why I’m a Ding fan as well and still hoping that he gets back in the winning circle soon.
Judd’s game is a lot about showing off: his abilty is quite extraordinary. It’s impressive, spectacular, no question. I do understand why people would be “fans” of that sort of game and Judd is the best exponent of it currently. Alex Higgins was like that too (*). But it’s not my thing and I’m not alone in this.
John Higgins is a great, great player, I know that, I understand what he does … but he bores me to death. Don’t ask.
(*) Judd is a much better and more complete player than Alex IMO