JUDGING by recent performances in Coventry this week, Neil Robertson is back to his best.
The Australian deservedly won the Champion of Champions title after beating Mark Allen 10-5 to pick up his first major title in more than 12 months.
Success in the Champion of Champions marks a good end of a frustrating year for the 33-year-old who has failed to get beyond the quarter-finals of a major ranking event – a surprising statistic to many given the talent he possesses.
Drubbed 10-2 by Shaun Murphy in the Masters in January – the biggest defeat in Masters finals history – the Australian has failed to produce the kind of form which has seen him perform at the top of the world stage in recent years following his World Championship triumph five years ago.
But this week has seen Robertson recapture some of his best form with an array of stunning long pots mixed with solid safety to help him back to glory just days ahead of this season’s UK Championship which he won two years ago.
And Sunday’s win over Allen in front of the ITV 4 cameras clearly meant a lot to him as he brought up his five-year-old son Alexander to celebrate his return to winning ways.
“This is the first major title I have picked up in over 12 months now so it is nice to be able to break the duck there and now I can move on for the rest of the season,” he said.
“The support all week has been wonderful and this tournament is a real challenger as our fourth major of the season, it is absolutely amazing.
“My long game was really good. I played well in the semi-final against Joe Perry yesterday and I knew if I could cut out the minor mistakes I would have a very good chance today (Sunday).”
As far as Allen is concerned, the Ulsterman will be thinking what he has to do to land a major title again.
Last season Allen suffered defeats in two major ranking finals – the Shanghai Masters and the International Championship – and now he has missed out on another big event after failing to perform at the final hurdle.
But the world number 11 was focusing on the positives following a successful fortnight of snooker which also saw him land his fifth PTC title in Bulgaria more than a week ago.
“There are lots of positives to take from the last nine days, I wasn’t even in this event a week ago.
“The support I have had this week has been fantastic. This is what we play snooker for, to play in big arenas, packed out and have lots of support.”