Judd Trump Says Great Mate Oliver Lines Can Thrive - If He Develops 'Evil' Streak

Despite defeat, Lines impressed in the Turkish Masters quarter-finals against Shaun Murphy
15:30, 12 Mar 2022

Judd Trump has backed his great mate Oliver Lines to use a career-best run in Turkey, one that has almost certainly saved his place on tour, as an overdue springboard – and tips the 26-year-old from Leeds to start really fulfilling his potential as long as he can develop an “evil” streak. 

From the moment Lines turned professional back in 2014, having just turned 19, he was singled out as a big English hope to keep a close eye on. Son of long-time pro Peter Lines, Lines junior looks to have a good technique and all the shots. And there is also a calmness and coolness around the table that was certainly in evidence at Turkey’s first ranking tournament. 

Lines only went out on the final black in the quarter-finals to Triple Crown winner Shaun Murphy in a match that really he could and should have won, having taken the battle to the Magician right from the start. But the real surprise is that it has taken this long for him to have any sort of real impact. 

Of course it is very tough on tour, and there are dozens of other players just looking for that one week when they can put it all together and make a significant breakthrough that will often see a player - boosted by the confidence such a run brings – takes things on to a new level. 

Given the wave of young talent sweeping through the game from China currently, several of whom are already winning big titles, the traditional power base in the UK can ill afford to have players of genuine ability not getting the most from their skills if they are to compete globally. 

It is not yet too late for Lines, but sooner would be better at this point and muddling around at the cut-off point for tour survival is not where he wants to be, nor in the opinion of former world champion and world No3 Trump, where he should be. 

However the heartfelt backing came with some ruthless advice – as Trump suggested that not only should he ditch the ‘nice-guy’ tag to become ‘Mr Evil’ but also that devoted son Lines should focus more on his own situation rather than worrying about how his dad is getting on. 

Trump, the favourite for April's Betfred World Championship, said: “Oli is one of the nicest people you could ever meet and his downfall in snooker is maybe that he is too nice. I was speaking to him for about an hour recently when he came to Bristol to practice and I gave him what I hope was some good advice. 

Judd Trump
Judd Trump

“Of course he has to go out and do it himself but I genuinely believe he is as good as some of the players winning these events, I really do. And for me he needs to get that evil side to him, kind of what I had to get and now have in order to win. And if he can do that, get on a roll and move up the rankings I have no doubt he can be a really top player. 

“It’s just the mental side, that is the thing that Oli needs to work on and get right to make a big breakthrough and fulfil his potential. 

“With him it is all in the head. I think having Peter, his dad, on the tour for him with the type of guy he is doesn’t help him. He is very, very close to his family and that is clearly a good thing. But I think it takes away some of his concentration when he is at tournaments and his dad is playing too. 

“He goes and watches maybe when he should be practising 

“It is funny, he came down to Bristol before the recent Welsh Open and it was the first time I had practised with anyone all season in between events. We played for two days, I did well and got to the final in Wales, and then had another good run in Turkey, and Oli had his best ever run in Antalya and was unlucky not to go even further. 

“I have always tried to help him as much as possible because I know it must be all in the head with him. When I practise with him I can see he is a brilliant player, he has shown it in flashes now and again but I am really pleased he has put the results together in a good run at a big tournament. This can be big for him, and he has to build on it.” 

Murphy was also quick to sing the praises of Lines, having come through a quarter-final that in truth he should have lost given that the younger player had at least four good chances in the decider, and a result that left the Magician puffing out his cheeks with relief after potting the final black for that 5-4 quarter-final victory in Antalya. 

Former world champion Murphy said: “Oli is a class, class player with every shot in the book. He had his best ever run in Turkey and there is sure to be more to come from him.” 

2022 Betfred World Championship Outright*

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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