WUXI Classic champion Neil Robertson revealed emotions got the better of him after he beat one of his best mates to claim his tenth ranking title.
The Australian beat close friend and practise partner Joe Perry 10-9 in an epic final on Sunday to successfully defend his title – a result which meant Perry was forced to wait even longer for his first major ranking silverware.
Robertson and Perry have practiced together at Willie Thorne’s Snooker and Sporting Club in Cambridge for the past ten years and more.
And the pair put on a memorable final – the first of the new season – which saw many twists and turns before a break of 78 in the final frame helped Robertson to victory from 9-8 down.
Moments after the final pot, television cameras from the host broadcaster showed Robertson in tears. The Australian admitted it was because he had beaten his close pal who has helped him become he player he is today.
“Joe is one of my best friends on tour and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
“He has taught me so much about the game and been such a great influence on my career over the past ten years.
“At the end I was really emotional. Maybe people thought it was because I’d won, but in fact it was for Joe as he was there at the start of my career.
“He should be winning tournaments and hopefully this experience will help him push on and win a big one and get into the world’s top ten where he belongs.
“If he was playing anyone else today I would have been following every shot. Even my Aussie friend Vinnie Calabrese texted me before the match saying he wanted Joe to win!”
And Robertson said winning the first major of the new season will stand him in good stead when he plays in his home tournament – The Australian Goldfields Open which starts today (Monday).
“I’m delighted to defend my title here and to start the season in this fashion,” he added. “It will be a very proud moment for me to go to Australia having won this trophy and it will give next week’s tournament a good boost.”
Robertson begins his Australian Goldfields Open campaign on Wednesday (July 2) against Andrew Higginson or Matthew Bolton.