From this season’s first five major ranking events Judd Trump has failed to reach a last 16 (though he didn’t enter one of them).
This doesn’t represent a career crisis but is a poor start to the campaign for the world no.3.
In fact, he played well in the International Championship today against Alan McManus, making two centuries. In the decider, Trump attempted a red rather than play safe, trying to win the match, which was the positive thing to do.
However, he missed the pot and McManus made a good break to get to snookers required.
Trump had made mistakes earlier in the match but McManus played positively throughout and fully deserved his win.
You’re never far away from advice and opinion where the internet’s concerned and Trump will receive plenty of both after this latest setback. He didn’t help his cause by tweeting last week that he would not only defend the title in Chengdu but also make a 147, which seemed to be upping the stakes somewhat.
I’ve always liked Judd as a player and a person. His talent is obvious and he is a perfectly pleasant, polite young man.
I’m less sure of the image that seems to have been created around him, that of some kind of playboy enjoying the trappings of success.
Material goods are nice to have but they are ultimately just stuff, and most snooker fans aren’t actually that impressed by them, preferring on table performances and achievements.
There’s nothing wrong with doing corporate work to satisfy sponsors. Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry did bucket loads of this in their time and Trump can’t be blamed for doing similar.
I have no comment to make about how much time he spends practising because I don’t know his daily schedule. Similarly he can spend his private time however he likes – nightclubs, gigs, holidays, whatever. That’s entirely his own business.
Balancing work and life is not a struggle unique to snooker players. The difference is that in many jobs you can perform below optimum level. Sport isn’t like that, though. Increasingly in snooker if you don’t play well from round one you’ll be on your way home.
It seems to me that Trump is basically on a bad run of form. He’s too good for it not to end.
But the rest of this season and the near future will be interesting for Trump-watchers. There’s never been a better time to be a young, talented snooker player without the ties of marriage or children.
But success brings with it distractions and these, paradoxically, are what often impede further success in the future.
Trump doesn’t seem the sort to dwell on things but maybe this is the time to decide what he really wants and, moreover, how he’s going to get it.