Judd Trump feels he’s been the World Snooker Tour’s most consistent player in 2016/17, but he’s looking to add further silverware to his collection in the second half of the season, starting at next month’s Ladbrokes World Grand Prix.
The top 32 players on this year’s money list will take to the historic Guild Hall in Preston next month, aiming to claim the £100,000 top prize.
Trump has comfortably shot his way into the event, currently occupying third place. Despite trailing Ding Junhui and Mark Selby, the 29-year-old feels that the level of his play has been the strongest of anyone.
Trump remarked: “I think the whole season I’ve been pretty consistent. In tournament wins I haven’t been the best, but in terms of overall standard I’ve played the most consistently of anyone.
“It’s taken superb performances to beat me this year. You have to take something from that and if you keep playing that well eventually you will win a lot of tournaments.
“I can play badly and win events and then play better than most people and lose in the first round. I think it shows that players tend to raise their game against me. I’m bringing the best out of everyone.
“In most tournaments my games are the best, the closest and the highest standard. That is certainly a positive.”
The Juddernaut has one trophy to his name this season, having staged a dramatic fightback against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of the European Masters.
Trump trailed the Rocket 8-6, before hitting back to win 9-8 in dramatic fashion. The 27-year-old feels that he can now build on that victory in the second half of his campaign.
“I was unlucky to be 8-6 down,” said the 2011 UK Champion.
“I kind of felt like it was all over and wasn’t quite happening. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I got in first for the next three frames and cleared in one visit.
To produce that, under that sort of pressure, in a nice arena has made me keep up the standard for the rest of the season. I know if I can find that extra five percent on my game I have a great chance to win a lot more events.”
Trump took home the World Grand Prix trophy in 2015, when O’Sullivan was once again the opponent.
He feels that it was an event which acted as a catalyst to up his game against the five-time World Champion.
“I had already played Ronnie in a couple of finals that season at the Champion of Champions and UK Championship and lost. It was nice to get the better of him and win on that occasion.
“It gave me a lot of confidence and since then, even though I didn’t have a bad record before, I seem to have really taken off in our matches with each other.”
Meanwhile, defending champion Shaun Murphy is hopeful of another good run in the competition at the Guild Hall.
The 2005 World Champion well rembers last year’s final – he defeated Stuart Bingham in the final.
“I was 4-2 up early on, but then Stuart came back at me and it was very close throughout the last session,” Murphy said.
“ In the end it went down to the last frame and either of us could have won, so I was thrilled to get over the line.
“I potted a couple of great long reds at important moments in the last frame which proved vital.
“ Towards the end, Stuart had put me in a position where I had no shot other than to go for a difficult long red to a baulk corner pocket.
“I don’t necessarily like to go for those daredevil shots, I’d rather play stress free snooker, but I had no choice that time.
“Luckily it went in and I won the frame.
“To win the title is what I go to every tournament for. There’s no reason why this year can’t be a repeat.”
The qualifying ranking list has been running throughout the season, with every pound earned counting towards a player’s total. The top 32 after the German Masters in early February will go through to Preston, and then the top 16 will earn a spot at the Players Championship in Llandudno in March.
“I really like the way the tour works now,” Murphy added.
“It’s almost like the Fed Ex Cup in golf, with the fields getting smaller and the prize money getting bigger for consecutive events. It’s a great opportunity for players to compete for life-changing sums of money every week.”
Murphy has never successfully defended a ranking title in his 19 year career and he’ll be hoping to change that in Preston.
“As defending champion you are there to be shot at,” he said. “You’re on all the posters and programmes and everyone wants to beat you. From my point of view I just need to go and play snooker and do the same things that I do every week, prepare well and try my best. Hopefully that will take me a long way.”
Fans can book tickets, which start at £13, for every session including the showpiece final on Sunday February 12, but seats MUST BE BOOKED FAST as certain sessions will sell out soon.
For full details call 01772 80 4444 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets