Judd Trump about playing Ronnie

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 and Ronnie O’Sullivan have had some memorable matches in recent years (Picture: Getty Images)

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.

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Ten
Trump had great results behind closed doors but is excited by the return of crowds (Picture: Getty Images)

‘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

4 thoughts on “Judd Trump about playing Ronnie

  1. Another point, wich isn’t necesarily my opinion, but several players have stated if, is the aspect of “aura” and intimidation. Graeme Dott and Fergal O’Brien recently compared Higgins and Ronnie and both agreed that while they always felt intimidated by Ronnie’s presence at the table, that never was the case with Higgins. I am not sure if that has to do with Ronnie’s ‘flair’ of with Higgins socializing more with other players, but I feel that it had a certain effect on their winning record.
    So anyway, those are my explanations but I might be wrong. 😀

  2. Well, that last sentence was quite a surprise after reading your opinion on this matter. How can you appreciate precise positional play and cue ball control and then dislike Higgins’ style? After all, his whole game is built on cue ball control, his break building relies even more on positional play than Ronnie’s because Higgins does play far fewer risky and ‘show-off’ shots. His style and Ding’s are very similar in my opinion.

    • I never said that I dislike Higgins style. Actually, I’m not sure myself why he bores me so much but he does. I know and understand that what he does at the table is awesome, but,indeed, he doesn’t take that many risky shots. Also, I wouldn’t speak about “showing-off” when it comes to Ronnie, or Ding: “playing with flair” is not “showing-off”, it’s daring to take the chances when they present themselves, even when there is a risk attached. Ultimately Ronnie has won significantly more than Higgins, especially in majors. Ask yourself why. For me, it’s because he took more of those “risky” opportunities. Of course it backfired at times, but his tally is telling the story: it paid off more often than it backfired.

      • Good point about their winning record. Although I think that Higgins does go for some risky shots when there is a lot at stake, he does tend to be more negative against lesser opponents. It reminds me of the Masters final this year, where he seemed to take less and less risks the stronger Yan got towards the end.

        As for the winning record, I think it comes down to their mental approach towards being professional rather than their playing style. You could even say that Higgins has a better head-to-head record against Ronnie in the “important” matches, meaning finals, semifinals and long-distance matches. But I think Ronnie has invested far more into his career in terms of health and fitness, coaches and general practice than John, certainely during tha last 20 years (that might have been different in 90s).

Comments are closed.