Neil Robertson has revealed he has been filled with emotion in recent days after seeing the devastation of wild bushfires in his native Australia.
The Australian suffered a shock 6-5 loss to Scotland’s Stephen Maguire in the Masters opening round, despite Robertson leading at one stage 5-1.
Robertson, after the match, admitted the lack of competitive match play in recent weeks was behind his defeat – which to many was deemed unthinkable when the world number 5 took full control leading 4-0 at the mid-session interval.
But Robertson, who has won all of snooker’s Triple Crown events, revealed how the tragic events in Australia have made it hard for him to concentrate – not that he is using it as an excuse for his loss.
Over the past few weeks, 27 people have died in Australia as fires in woodland areas have spiralled out of control.
The fires, fuelled by gorging temperatures in Australia, have destroyed almost 2,000 homes and caused an estimated 1 billion animals to be lost.
Before a cueball was struck, Robertson pledged to support the wildlife rescue by donating £100 for every century break at the Masters to wildlife rescue charity Wires on top of a personal donation of £5,000. The World Snooker Tour has since announced it will match his donation.
Robertson revealed it had been a difficult time because some of his family live close to where the fires have hit.
He said: “A couple of other players have pledged more donations which I really appreciate. I have been really emotional following what’s happening, especially as it’s close to where my family live. My mind is back home and it puts a game of snooker into perspective, though I don’t want to make any excuses about today’s result.”
You can donate to the Wires charity by clicking here.