Friday, 2 November 2012

On top of the world

Judd Trump became the new world number one today - and he did it with his stylish touch.

Needing to reach the final of the International Championship to overtake Mark Selby at the top of the rankings, he was brutal in his 9-1 demolition of Peter Ebdon in the semi-final.

It was everything we have come to expect from Judd in its delivery. Fast, furious and entertaining.

Picture by Monique Limbos
This is a big milestone in Trump's inevitable rise to becoming one the greats. He's still a world title or a few away from becoming a legend, but the way he audaciously plays the game means he's already well on the way.

He's already is great company. He is only the tenth player to occupy the number one spot in the rankings since they were designed in 1976.

His name goes next to Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby. This is a stellar list but his name is certainly not out of place. I'd expect him to be in or around top spot for man more years to come.

There is much to admire about Trump.

Since his breakthrough to stardom winning the 2011 China Open, he's won the UK Championship, reached the final at the Crucible, picked up points all over the place and put on a show at every opportunity.

His outrageous shot-making ability, unwavering temperament, unshakable confidence and enviable good looks make him a ready-made star, but he appreciates he must work for his success.

Unlike lots of young players, Trump appears to see the bigger picture. He has an admirable work hard, play hard attitude and is always keen to keep improving putting in long hours on the practice table. He's clearly motivated by winning the most prestigious titles and entertaining the crowds on the biggest occasions, but this doesn't disrupt his consistent dedication.

I'm not saying he's perfect. He's had plenty of critics; more than he deserves. But this is part and parcel of being a such a phenomenal and a sure sign of his dramatic rise and continuous success.

Encouragingly, Judd hasn't let it put him off doing what he does best.

The tag of being world number one could easily weigh heavy round the neck of a player so young, but I can't see this being a problem for Trump. He's taken everything he's achieved so far in his stride, but always stays grounded.

In today's press conference he talked down his new ranking position insisting he still has a job to do in Chengdu and that his primary aim is to become world champion.

Judd has been a star in the making for many years. He has good people around him and has had plenty of time to prepare for the limelight. These have clearly been factors in helping him to handle life at the top.

He does so many things well and plays snooker in a way you can't help but enjoy. He is a complete breath of fresh air.

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