WINNING snooker’s new World Grand Prix could prove to be Judd Trump’s most significant title yet.
The sport’s newest event in Llandudno, Wales will certainly be one to remember for the 25-year-old as he showed this week the type of character needed to become a world champion for the first time.
Trump lifted his fifth major title of his career and received a cheque for £100,000 after beating Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-7 on Sunday night.
Twice this season Trump has fallen to the man he idolised as a youngster dreaming to emulate his success in a later generation. Defeats to O’Sullivan in the final of Champion of Champions and then the UK Championship will certainly have disappointed the young potter – but he was not going to let a third opportunity slip through his grasp.
In recent years it would be fair to say Trump has appeared to lack the mental strength and the complete game to land more titles to his natural talent. There is no doubt his talent deserves more than the success he has had so far – just four ranking titles to his name over a four year period.
But here in Llandudno Trump has showed the temperament needed for him to go onto achieve more success. Beating his idol in O’Sullivan alone in a major final will give the Bristol talent a huge confidence boost but the way he has earned his silverware should be more of an encouraging not to Trump and his huge fan base in the game – especially with the World Championship less than three weeks away.
Wins against Dominic Dale and Joe Perry in the opening rounds showed Trump’s dominance with his potting ability but his wins against Mark Williams and Martin Gould showed true grit to his game which had rarely been seen before. Williams forced a final frame decider in the quarter-final and could have won it but Trump managed to get past the winning line knocking in vital pots at the most crucial time. And on Saturday he showed true temperament coming back from 5-1 down to Gould to reach the final.
Would Trump have come back from that level of deficit a couple of years ago? It begs to ask.
And in the final he showed he again how he could bounce back, this time against one of the sport’s greatest players – arguably the best. Deficits of 4-1 and 7-4 may have been too much for him to cope with in the past, but he kept plugging away and took six frames on the trot to land another major title to his name.
“Not a lot of people come back from that far behind against Ronnie so I’m over the moon,” Trump said after the 10-7 win.
“I’ve dug in all week. I didn’t play great stuff, nowhere near my best. At 4-1 down, I was getting a little bit frustrated and then it seemed to turn. It was a weird game, a bit patchy. In the end I kept calm and got over the line.
“It’s a great feeling to beat Ronnie in a big final for the first time. You don’t want to lose too many times in a row against the same player. Two times is already a lot, and going behind tonight 7-4, I thought it was just going to be the same thing.
“I felt comfortable out there. I took confidence from making the 142 to go 7-7, and after that I didn’t really miss a lot. I missed the blue in the last frame, but other than that I felt I dominated tonight. My safety was very good and I think that was the difference. I’m the sort of player who gets on a roll as soon as I win one or two frames.
“I won the tournament playing a different game to what I’m used to. My safety was probably a lot better than anyone else’s throughout the whole tournament, and that got me through. If I’m not potting every ball on the table, I need to change the game.”