Snooker: Hendry targets centuries milestone after defeat
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With reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan knocked out of this year’s Crucible clashes, the World Snooker Championship looks set to spice up. Trump, the current world number one, leads in his battle against David Gilbert, the current number 15. Selby, nicknamed ‘The Jester from Leicester’, is one frame away from beating Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen this afternoon.
Many anticipate a closely fought face-off between English stars Trump, 31, and Selby, 37, in the coming competition.
Ahead of this year’s championships, the world number one boasted about being worthy of his current rankings.
Trump claimed “everyone” – “even” O’Sullivan – “knew” he had “been the best player” in recent years.
Last week, he told BBC Sport: “I have done enough over the past couple of seasons to be world number one.”
Trump went further and claimed O’Sullivan “knew” he was “not the best” in the world anymore.
The snooker star’s comments came in spite of O’Sullivan having won two World Championships in a row before being eliminated on Friday.
But Trump’s confidence may well be justified according to O’Sullivan, who claimed he was “playing to a very, very high standard”.
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He listed Trump among “the hardest opponents” he played against, alongside Stephen Hendry and John Higgins.
Selby spoke out last month ahead of Trump’s victory over Jack Lisowski in the Gibraltar Open – the final tournament in the BetVictor European Series.
The snooker star, currently the world number four, felt it was “about time” Trump “gave someone else a go” at the £150,000 series bonus.
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Selby claimed he was hot on the heels of the reigning champion and felt he could be in with a chance – before being knocked out by Chris Wakelin.
In Trump’s response, which was reported by the Daily Star, he appeared to mock Selby for his previous form.
He said: “Mark will be disappointed not to be in the driving seat in this one after Wales.
“The money here doesn’t really go up until the semi-finals, he has a lot to do but he’ll be determined.”
At the end of the European Series, Trump won the £150,000 jackpot after defending his title against Lisowski with a 4-0 victory.
Earlier this month, the world number one told Metro about his hopes to modernise the sport for younger audiences.
Trump suggested changes such as a specific dress code, punditry, increased social media marketing and more of a focus on new talent.
He claimed his comments were met with positive feedback from “99.9 percent” of snooker stars and fans.
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Trump admitted the “older” he became the more “important” he felt it was to “speak his mind” and get “snooker in the spotlight”.
When asked about the likelihood of the sport changing, he responded: “I’m not going to hold my breath.”
Trump felt it was his duty to try to prevent “the sport” from “declining” and felt by “saying nothing” he was not helping.
He added: “I want to see the sport thriving!”
Allen supported Trump’s remarks and believed commentators should focus on snooker’s current stars rather than the players of the past.
He said: “Talk about them, talk about the ones that are carrying the sport right now.
“Give them a platform to build their own profiles and bring new people into the game wanting to be the next Judd Trump, Neil Robertson or Mark Selby.”
Mark Selby’s clash with Mark Allen is scheduled to return at 3.30pm today. Judd Trump vs David Gilbert returns at 7pm tonight.
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