The 2021 Champion of Champions begins today …

Judd Trump is in action on this first day in what is definitely the easiest group in the event by some margin…

As you would expect, he was interviewed by Phil Haigh ahead of the tournament … and, of course, had plenty to say and had to have a pop at Ronnie.

Judd Trump: Ronnie O’Sullivan has lost belief and no one is scared to play him

Ronnie clair-obscur
Ronnie O’Sullivan will be looking to snap out of his trophy drought at the Champion of Champions (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan is lacking belief and his rivals are no longer scared to play him, believes Judd Trump, as the Rocket’s trophy drought stretches past 18 months.

O’Sullivan has not picked up any silverware since he won his sixth World Championship title last year, remarkably losing five finals on the spin last season.

Trump, who has won five titles since the Rocket’s last, feels there is bound to be a lack of belief creeping in, despite being the most successful snooker player ever.

I just think he’s lost a little bit of the belief,’ said Trump. ‘When you don’t win you don’t have the same belief, people aren’t scared to beat you.

‘He’s still getting to finals, he’s always going to breeze through the first few games because he’s so good. But when he comes up against a top 16 player there’s just not that gulf in class anymore, I don’t think.

No one is that scared to play him, on their day anyone’s game is good enough to beat him and that’s what’s happened to him over the last year.’

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Nine
Judd Trump reckons a lack of confidence can hit anyone (Picture: Getty Images)

Presented with this suggestion, O’Sullivan did not seem impressed, laughing at the assertion.

Who me?’ O’Sullivan said before breaking into a chuckle. ‘Yeah maybe, maybe I’m lacking belief. Yeah, I dunno, maybe he’s right, who knows? Who knows?

Trump has been the most consistent winner of tournaments over the last two years, and puts that partly down to treating every event equally, preparing as diligently for the Gibraltar Open as he does the World Championship.

The Ace feels this is the only way to win regularly on the main tour, as O’Sullivan’s struggles have shown, reminding the Rocket that ‘he can’t win an event to save his life at the minute.’

They’re all the same to me nowadays,’ said Trump. ‘I think the only people that see the big events as the big events are the people that win the big events

If they won the little ones then they say the little ones are just as big. It’s whatever event you win, really. I’m just happy to win any event.

A lot of the top players, Ronnie included, he can’t win an event to save his life at the minute. It just shows how hard it is to win – what someone would call – a smaller event, with all the top players still in it.

The Rocket has a very different view to Trump on many events on the calendar, describing the four Home Nations tournaments as ‘very minor’ and both ‘like pro-ams’ and ‘match practice’.

Some considered these – and many other O’Sullivan comments – as disrespectful towards snooker and Trump wishes the game’s GOAT would not put the sport down.

I just…it doesn’t wind me up because I’m so used to it, and there’s so many different sides to him,’ said Judd of Ronnie’s comments. ‘He can be the nicest person in the world, it’s just some of the comments are a bit derogatory towards snooker sometimes and there’s no need for it.

‘There’s no need to put it down, no one else puts their sport down. It’s just something he likes to do to try and pretend he doesn’t love snooker, but I think deep down it means so much to him and the records mean so much.

He’s an amazing guy, I love him, I’ve practiced with him, I’ve got no bad words to say. If you haven’t got anything good to say, there’s no need to say anything.

It’s just that one day it’s one thing and the next day it’s another thing. If he genuinely meant it I’d think, “Okay, I’ll listen.”

Ronnie hasn’t won a title since August 2020 … he’s about to turn 46. He still made it to 5 finals. I may not live long enough to see how Judd does at 46 – I’ll be 80 by then if I’m still around – but, somehow, I doubt that he will be doing better than the class of 92 is currently doing.

Judd … well OK, he has won a lot over the last 2 and 1/2 years BUT, since winning the German Masters last January, nearly 10 months ago, his only title came at the 2021 Gibraltar Open, a best-of-seven event from start to finish where he didn’t face a single top 8 player. Other that that, he didn’t go past the QFs in any event. Maybe he’s lacking a bit of belief himself then?

Other than that … the arena should be ready and great

There is also a specific dress code for the event:

Judd Trump’s pleas for snooker to be brought ‘out of the dark ages’ answered with rule change on player’s clothing

JUDD TRUMP has seen demands for a more modern dress code answered for next week’s Champion of Champions.

But the Juddernaut, who claimed in April snooker was “stuck in a rut”, will not be walking out in casual clobber at the Crucible any time soon.

Judd Trump has seen his demands for a more relaxed dress code in snooker getting answered

Judd Trump has seen his demands for a more relaxed dress code in snooker getting answered Credit: Alamy
Judd Trump is set to compete with a more casual attire at the Champion of Champions

Judd Trump is set to compete with a more casual attire at the Champion of Champions

World No2 Trump, 32, lines up in Bolton in the elite 16-player field for an event bringing together the year’s winners.

And he will enter the arena wearing a new black personalised performance shirt – of the type seen in nine-ball pool.

This starkly contrasts with the traditional snooker get-up of waistcoats, suit trousers, shirts and bow ties.

But governing body World Snooker Tour insist this move will not be extended to events such as the UK Championship later this month, and the Betfred World Championship.

Former world champion Trump said: “It is about time, it’s nice to see them trying out new ideas and bringing snooker into the 21st century.

“And it will also be nice to be playing in a big tournament in attire that is a lot more comfortable – similar to what I would wear in practise.


So this is today’s line-up…  Judd may be happy and look good in that polo shirt, but some of the players will definitely not. Maybe this is the real reason why Mark Allen withdrew? (only joking).

More seriously, I’m not a fan of seeing snooker looking more like 9-ball and I have the worrying feeling that matchroom priorities are definitely shifting towards pool now that Barry Hearn is no more at the elm. They are planning 6 pool events for next season.

12 thoughts on “The 2021 Champion of Champions begins today …

  1. Trump should focus on winning more Triple Crowns than small tournaments. Tournaments are different, big ones small ones, it’s like eating at McDonald’s and a Michelin restaurant. He’s either a big mouth or being naive.

  2. I’m certainly not one of the younger generation they might want to attract, but playjng the game in T-shirts is a definite turn-off. it’s no longer elegant. As to the other thing Trump found necessary to voice, I really wonder if the interview takes place by someone asking “Do you have anything to say about Ronnie?” or he just starts without being invited to do so. I know what Ronnie said about the importance of the majors over the other tournaments must be irking him lol. I also try to hope that it is he decline he covers up with his big mouth. 🙂

    • He was asked his opinion as to why Ronnie has not won a title since the 2020 Worid champs. That info is coming from Phil Haigh himself.

      • Judd may have a point there actually, although he hasn’t won many big events himself recently as you pointed out already. I always find it a bit weard to see active Players commenting about each other. They should leave it to the pundits imo

  3. I find the dress code to be one of the appeals of snooker, and I am not sure why it would deter young people from playing the sport. Perhaps growing up with years of wearing a school uniform has something to do with it. Some of the UK players might be fed up with uniforms, that is, to a degree, understandable. I must admit, I do not know the policy of school uniforms in China or mainland Europe.

    • I had to wear a uniform from the first year of primary school to the equivalent of the A-levels in UK. 12 years if you passed every year. And we had a uniform pinafore on top of our uniform… The colour was blue in primary school, then grey later. I don’t think I ever wore grey ever since! But I came to see the value of it later in life. We were all dressed the same (jewelery and watches were forbidden). Nobody could tell who was from a wealthy background and who wasn’t. There was no competition or showing off. To an extend this also applies to the snooker dress code.

      • I thought the dress code in snooker comes from the history of the invention of the game by colonial officers.

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