The incredible rise of Judd Trump now…

Caption: Judd Trump has displayed laser-like focus so far in 2019

The world of snooker is waiting with bated breath to find out if there really is a genuine replacement for Ronnie O’Sullivan at the top of the sport. 30-year-old Brit, Judd Trump finally secured his maiden World Championship title at the Crucible in May, demolishing veteran, John Higgins 18-9 to take the world crown with plenty to spare. That performance led to a seven-time world champion, Stephen Hendry’s proclamation that Trump could establish a new “era of dominance” in the years to come.

That view was shared by former world number-one, Ronnie O’Sullivan, who believes Trump’s talent has taken snooker “to another level” and made the game more accessible to beginners.

It has been an incredible 2019 for Trump. Aside from becoming a world champion for the first time, he’s also bagged the UK Masters title and more recently claimed the International Championship title in China.

It’s the first time since 2008 that a player has been able to follow up their World Championship success at the Crucible by winning their first tournament of the new season. The last man to achieve that feat? None other than Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Shades of the “Rocket” in Judd Trump’s performances

Caption: Has O’Sullivan’s time at the top come to an end due to the rise of Trump?

Some of Trump’s contemporaries, like Mark Selby (pictured) have compared his game to that of O’Sullivan. Selby remarked that Trump goes for more shots than most – and that includes O’Sullivan. It’s perhaps for that reason, and his new-found confidence, that most sportsbooks have put Trump as the early favourite for the 2020 World Championship. Away from the game, Trump is rather more unassuming than O’Sullivan, preferring to stay out of the limelight. He’s a big Manchester United fan and has seen his team reside over a period of domestic and European frustration.

Trump was world number one for a fleeting moment in March 2013, but after returning to the summit last month, he appears to have all the technical and mental attributes to stay there for some considerable time. 

There has definitely been a real shift in Trump’s mindset in recent months. Since regaining the top spot, Trump has spoken of his ambition to win a record number of ranking titles after bagging his 12th at the International Championship.

Having already won 12 titles at 29, Trump has inched his way to ninth on the all-time winner’s list. Although, he must win three times as many titles to eclipse the 36 currently won by Ronnie O’Sullivan, Trump is hopeful that the “Rocket” will eventually be in his sights if he can consistently “keep winning two, three, four [titles] a season”.

Stephen Hendry, who now spends more time playing cards than potting balls, believes Trump has all the attributes needed to dominate the sport like he and O’Sullivan have done in recent decades.

Will the strength of world snooker work against Judd Trump?

One player on the world circuit that doesn’t believe Trump has what it takes to dominate in the same way that O’Sullivan and Hendry have done is Barry Hawkins. He’s been somewhat outspoken about the quality of players within the world’s top 64, insisting that there are too many talented players for one player to clean up and win everything.

Hawkins said that the “competition’s so tough” that it would be hard for “one person” to dominate. Hawkins believes “there’ll be a few players winning two or three tournaments a season”. If Trump can do so regularly over the next decade, he might overtake O’Sullivan’s record and cement him as an all-time snooker great.

If Trump manages to eclipse O’Sullivan’s rankings title record, it will have been a hugely entertaining era for snooker. Trump is one of the most talented break-builders in the game, having already racked up over 600 century breaks in his career.

At the tender age of 14, Trump’s talent came to the fore, becoming the youngest player to make a competitive 147 break at the World Under-21 Championships. If there is one player that could usurp O’Sullivan as snooker’s most precocious talent, it’s Judd Trump.

This is a sponsored post from Florence Marceau