Monday, 18 July 2011

Davis shows Judd the Trump card

Judd Trump was dumped out of the Australian Open in the first round today - and the critics were out in force to stick the knife in

After losing 5-3 to Mark Davis in Bendigo, questions were being cast over the 21-year-old's tournament preparations.

His summer activities have been well-publicised on Twitter, and include holidays, fast cars and flash watches.

One tweep tweeted after he trailed Davis 3-0: "Ok someone has to say it. Judd needs to start behaving like a snooker player again. Who cares if he buys a crap watch or not?"

This comment is far from the worst and it's necessarily a criticism either, but perhaps just a warning that party time is over, and he needs to knuckle down again. I don't resent this comment in the slightest.

But I do resent comments which accuse accuse Trump of being work shy.

After all, it was because of hardwork that Trump earned godly praise for winning the China Open and being runner-up in the World Championship at the back end of last season.

While today's defeat leaves young Judd with plenty to think about having now started the season with two defeats in his opening two matches - it definitely isn't time to panic.

Of course, Judd wasn't at his imperious best but credit shouldn't be taken away from Davis either, who played some marvellous snooker to build a commanding, if not unassailable, 3-0 lead. From that point, Trump was powerless, and despite a worthy fight, couldn't quite scale the experienced pro.

Trump's shot selection was called into question. But, I remember it being called into question during his run to the Crucible final too. The difference is that in Sheffield, his shots were coming off. We can't have it both ways. You must concede that to have a player with such attacking instincts, it means that sometimes he may get it wrong.

Judd definitely got it wrong today, but that doesn't mean we should question his ability or work ethos. The media and the fans love to hype up players. Judd was worth every penny of that hype at the end of last season, and sure, he enjoyed it. Who wouldn't? But he never asked for it. Some people would say that he has to take the rough with the smooth. But I think people are too quick to forget.

His performances were so excellent at the end of last season that he earned instant snooker stardom.

As a result, he's let his hair down big time this summer, and rightly so. After winning his first major ranking title and reaching the final of the biggest snooker tournament in the world, he has plenty to celebrate. And we can't say we weren't warned either. Judd said himself after the world final that he intended to enjoy himself for a little while.

The summer break hasn't exactly been long, but even just a few weeks away from the table seems to have put his game back a little.

He's paid the price for that today but there's definitely no need to begin questioning his dedication. You don't get to a world final without bags of it.

Today, he wasn't at his best, so lost to a good player well in the hunt for a top 16 ranking position.  That doesn't make him a bad or uncommitted player.

It might be a little wake up call that it's time to focus, but mark my words: Judd Trump will be back.

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