Judd Trump: Tour Championship Has Outgrown Sleepy Llandudno

'The Juddernaut' argues that the Tour Championship deserves the big-city Masters treatment
21:00, 28 Mar 2022

Judd Trump insists that the Tour Championship has outgrown sleepy Llandudno  - and deserves the big-city Masters treatment.

The Juddernaut is in an elite field of the eight best-performing players of the season bidding to take home the £150,000 first prize.

World No3 Trump and recent Turkish Masters winner is coming back to form at the perfect time for next month’s Betfred World Championship.

But the 32-year-old was blown away by the phenomenal atmosphere generated by a 2,000 crowd of raucous fans at London’s Alexandra Palace in January.

And for an event some see as the sport’s ‘fourth major’ former world champion Trump reckons the event feels “lost” at the Venue Cymru on the north Wales coast.

He said: “Whereas before the three majors stood way above, that is less true now. There are other huge tournaments…those in China, the World Grand Prix, the Players and Tour Championships and also Turkey.

“Probably the best event we have on tour at the moment from many points of view is the Masters at Alexandra Palace.

“It is the size of the crowd, the incredible atmosphere the 2,000 fans generate, and the superb facilities with all the hospitality there.

“I am really coming into form and getting into the Tour Championship as late as I did was a real bonus. That is great practice before the World Championship.

“The format is so similar to the Crucible with the longer matches and sessions. If I win it, I’ll definitely say it should be another major…if not, then it sucks!

“But seriously, everyone prefers the longer matches and at the Tour Champs we have them right from the start. 

“And if it was in a big city, maybe a different venue and place, it would seem even bigger. It feels like with its status it deserves to be in London or a big city.

“It would be an ideal one to replicate what we now have at the Masters with those huge 2,000 crowds and the quality guaranteed, with the eight best players this season. 

“And the atmosphere is maybe the only thing not quite right, because all the other elements are there. Every game is like a final.

“It just feels a little bit lost in Llandudno, and maybe they need to try a new venue. I don’t think they would struggle with ticket sales in any major city.”

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Trump, who opens up his bid for a first Tour Championship title against Belgium’s Luca Brecel, hopes he has timed things right for a big finish to the campaign.

After winning 14 ranking titles in total in the previous three seasons, Trump had to wait until success in Antalya earlier this month for his first such victory in the current campaign.

But he did it in style, making a magnificent sixth career maximum 147 in the final against Matt Selt.

He added: “I am really coming into form and getting into the Tour Championship as late as I did was a real bonus. That is great practice before the World Championship.

“The format is so similar to the Crucible with the longer matches and session.

“I have done almost the opposite this season of how it has gone in the last couple of years. Then I had often won a few events early on going in to these last couple of big ones.

“That has been four, five or six titles in the bag by now and then I fizzled out a bit at the Tour and World Championships.

“Before Turkey it was very quiet for me in this campaign, and given I have often gone off the boil around now I am not unhappy about the change this year.

“Before the Welsh Open I was contemplating not qualifying for Llandudno, maybe not going to Gibraltar, and having three or four weeks off before the worlds and being completely refreshed.

“But then it changed so quickly. I got to the final in Newport and was disappointed not to win, and then won in Turkey.

“I have felt back to myself in the last couple of tournaments, and a lot more confident. It is all about getting in to a rhythm for me, and finding a free flow.

“Winning the Turkish Masters was huge for me, even though I won the Champion of Champions this season it hadn’t been going well in the ranking events and relatively I was slipping there.”

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