World Snooker Championship: Judd Trump says return of fans will bring out his best

Judd Trump explains why he can't wait for the fans to return to snooker.
Betfred World Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates:17 April - 3 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and Red Button, with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

World number one Judd Trump says the return of fans will help bring out his best at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

Until now the 2020-21 season has been entirely played behind closed doors because of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, the tournament is part of a government pilot scheme to help fans return to sporting and cultural venues.

"You miss the coughing and the mobile phones going off," Trump told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"When you are losing and you get a frame or two behind [without fans], it is so much easier to give up because you feel nobody is there to see it.

"When you've got a crowd you sometimes take a toilet break just to get the roar of the fans and get them calling your name to get you back in the game. So it makes a huge difference.

"I need the fans there just to bring out the best in me. Just adding more nerves and excitement helps my concentration."

Trump, who had to withdraw from the Masters in January after testing positive for coronavirus, has won five ranking titles this term and was also a losing finalist in the UK Championship.

He arrives at the Crucible accompanied by his brother Jack, in confident mood and buoyed by a change of scenery - with all but two of this season's major ranking and non-ranking events having been held in Milton Keynes.

"I feel my game is there for another win," added the 2019 world champion. "It is such a long time, 17 days, that you can't peak for every single game. You've got to be mentally prepared to go through hell to win the tournament.

"It's been quite draining seeing the same surroundings over and over again. It feels like you are playing the same tournament over and over again. You're in the same hotel rooms and are just on your own.

"It's just going to be nice to take someone to the Crucible to have in your corner and help you through dark times in a game."

No socially-distanced selfies

Meanwhile, Neil Robertson believes the atmosphere in Sheffield is unlikely to be the same as pre-coronavirus championships.

"You don't want to be mixing with people, even if they have the best intentions - if you were to pick it [Covid-19] up, you would be out of the event," said Robertson.

"I am going to have a policy this year where I am not stopping for socially-distanced selfies or signing anything. You just can't afford to do that on the ridiculous chance of catching it. It would be pretty disastrous."

Since the Australian lifted the snooker's biggest prize in 2010, he has only reached the semi-finals once.

However, the 39-year-old begins the event as a leading contender to win his second world title after a scintillating victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Tour Championship.

And Robertson, who faces China's Liang Wenbo in the first round, says he is paying little attention to others.

"The way I have been playing this season, I am not really too worried about who I am playing," Robertson added.

"If you ask Liang [Wenbo], he probably won't be too happy about the draw, whereas I am not really too fussed. It is about how I approach the game. If I play well, I think I will win. It will be a tough game, but hopefully I will have too much [for him].

"This season I have always played matches on my terms, they have always been aggressive, open games which brings the best out of me."

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