Judd Trump is in danger of losing his world number one spot to Mark Selby during the British Open this week, but he is not worried about it as he says: ‘Quite clearly I’ve been the best player over the last two years.’
With the calendar moved around and ranking system impacted due to the pandemic, Trump will see his ranking points plummet this week, with £125,000 coming off from his International Championship win in 2019.
This means world champion Selby can usurp him at the top of the rankings in Leicester and Trump must reach the quarter-finals to have a chance of staying at the summit.
Trump has been world number one since August 2019 and wasn’t aware of his potential demise until just before his British Open first round match against Mitchell Mann, a game he won 3-2.
He would be disappointed to be knocked off top spot, but feels like he deserves to be number one given the sheer volume of ranking events he has won over the last couple of years (13 since the start of 2019).
‘Rob [Walker] mentioned it in the interview before the game,’ said Trump. ‘It’s not something I kept an eye on.
‘I presumed that when Mark won that [the World Championship] that he’d be number one, but obviously that’s not the case.
‘It’s a tough one really because I think I’ve performed a miracle to be number one, not winning the Worlds in the last two years, with how heavy the ranking points are favoured in that tournament.
‘I’d be disappointed, not that I don’t think Mark deserves it, but quite clearly I’ve been the best player over the last two years. So for him to overtake me is probably a little bit of a fault with the ranking system.’
On the prospect of losing the world number one position because of a defeat over a best-of-five, Judd admits it would be especially annoying.
‘Yeah,’ he said on that notion. ‘You’re obviously appreciative of any tournament, but a best-of-five is always going to be a flip of a coin, Best-of-seven is tough enough, but best-of-five…It’s always going to be a lottery, this tournament, there’s going to be some surprise results, you’re just hoping the conditions are good and best players will come to the top.
‘I’ve not really paid attention to snooker the last three or four months. It’s not something I’m going to worry about if I lose it.
‘Maybe some people think Mark deserves to be the world number one, but I don’t think so.’
In terms of the first round match, it was a very scrappy affair with Trump absolutely nowhere near his blistering best, missing balls that you would expect to see him pot if the lights had gone out.
Mann was just about doing enough to take advantage and edged his way into a 2-1 lead, although neither player had managed a half century by this point.
A 2-1 deficit would be little cause for panic in most tournaments, but in a race to three it is a woefully perilous position to be in.
However, the 2019 world champion found some kind of form in the fourth frame, after Mann had a half decent chance, with Trump making the first decent break of the match with a 52.
Trump had just about pulled himself together by this point, making a break of 62, although that’s where he broke down, losing position on a red and then playing a pretty reckless shot trying to recover.
He had a 58 point lead by this stage with five reds left, so Mann strode back to the table and worked his way back into the frame until a safety battle ensued on the green with the underdog 20 points behind.
Mann edged his way into a position to win, fluking the brown to give himself a chance at a long blue which he stuck a long way wide of the target and Judd stepped in to pot blue and pink for the win.
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