Judd Trump could be peaking at just the right time
As Judd Trump held the comically large Turkish Masters trophy above his head, the overriding feeling must have been one of relief. With the climax of the season already coming into view, this was Trump’s first ranking title in over a year, and his first of the current campaign. Last year’s Gibraltar Open had been the last time he tasted ranking success, and although he won the invitational Champion of Champions back in the autumn, it was vital that he got another title under his belt.
Indeed, after losing the final of the Welsh Open to Joe Perry the week before, it would have been understandable for Trump to go to Antalya on a bit of a low ebb, and end up going out early. For a man who won tournaments so consistently for two successive seasons, becoming a consistent favourite in the snooker betting online as a result, it must have been difficult to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t playing to a high enough standard to maintain those levels of success. However, he demonstrated tremendous determination to come through some extremely tricky matches and win the inaugural Turkish Masters.
Now, things are looking a lot rosier for Trump this season. While he has become accustomed to winning five or six big tournaments a season, it is always an impressive achievement for a player to get their hands on more than one trophy in a campaign. The Champion of Champions was one that he had never won before, and now having triumphed in Turkey, the campaign has a much brighter hue. Neil Robertson and Zhao Xintong are the only other players to win multiple titles this season.
The added bonus of winning the Turkish Masters is that Trump is all but certain to feature in the Tour Championship at the beginning of next month. A prestigious tournament that contains just the top eight players on the season ranking list, it’s the place to be for the game’s elite. The £100,000 in prize money picked up in Antalya has boosted Trump to sixth on the one-year list, with only the low-money Gibraltar Open to come between now and the Tour Championship.
Of course, there is then the small matter of the World Championship in Sheffield towards the end of April, for which Trump will be well fancied in the snooker betting tips. Since winning his maiden in world title in 2019, Trump has failed to make it back to the one-table setup at the Crucible Theatre, exiting at the quarter-final stage in his last two appearances. He’ll be desperate to become a multiple World Championship winner, and join the illustrious list of players who boast more than one Crucible crown.
The win in Turkey means that Trump is entering the most important part of the season in his best form, and rediscovering the taste of victory will only make him more eager to get his hands on more silverware. With three tournaments still to come this season, two of which are among the biggest on the calendar, there is still an opportunity for this to be another incredible season for the 32-year-old.
The only thing standing in his way is the remarkable strength and depth of the tour at the moment. This season, we have seen players produce their best out of nowhere to win tournaments against the odds, proof of the talent that runs so far down the rankings. It’s up to Trump to prove why he is considered one of snooker’s best ever talents, and on the basis of his recent form, he could be on the verge of a stunning end to the campaign.