Late Arrival Robertson Determined To Make A Quick Start At World Championship

Neil Robertson starts his campaign for a second world title in Sheffield against debutant Wu Yize on Saturday afternoon
23:00, 14 Apr 2023

Neil Robertson faces a fine for arriving late at the Crucible on Friday – but wants a fast start against Chinese debutant Wu Yize on Saturday afternoon.

The former champion from Australia starts his campaign for a second world title in Sheffield against teenage qualifier Wu.

The Thunder from Down Under missed the official top-16 photo shoot of the seeds along with an ill Luca Brecel - and was so worried he took picture evidence of the traffic jam on the A1.


Robertson does have previous form for arriving late, over-sleeping, missing flights, and on one memorable occasion driving to the ‘wrong Barnsley’ – in Gloucestershire rather than Yorkshire – for a qualifying match.

He said: “I am not wearing a watch – but I did take photos of the traffic jam. They shut the road, the A1 and I was stuck there. It was about 40 miles out or something like that.

“I have sent World Snooker the pictures. As soon as I saw it, I sent it to the press manager, ‘I don’t know what time I am going to get there, this is the situation’.

“If we didn’t take any pictures, then they would have said, ‘Neil, are you sure…?’ So I have the proof. When I see something like that now, my heart sinks.

“I actually set off on time, I set off earlier than I ever had, and this is the latest I have been there. I drove to the wrong Barnsley once – and then found out there were three in the UK.

The top 16 players minus a late Neil Robertson and Luca Brecel, who was ill
The top 16 players minus a late Neil Robertson and Luca Brecel, who was ill

“But I have never been late for a Crucible match! You are always close by already for those. And I have never been late for an official match at a venue.

“It’s good to get off to a good start against a debutant – you want to stamp your authority on the match.

“Last year, against Ashley Hugill, he was smiling and playing unbelievable at the beginning. But then I came back strong, and I think he realised where he was.

“You want to make them think that. I have built up massive leads here before in the first round, and though it gets harder to do that, you want to take advantage when you can.”

A laughing Judd Trump, the 2019 champion who plays Anthony McGill in the tie of the round on Tuesday, said of his pal Robertson: “Let’s hope he is not late on the day he plays!

“I turned up late last year, Jack Lisowski and I, we got the train this year to make sure it didn’t happen. But it nearly happened.

“It is never nice to be late. Neil might enjoy it, cutting it on the edge, times it that he lands there on the dot. It doesn’t give him any time for error. I got a £250 fine last year - Neil can look forward to that.”

Six Players To Watch

Ronnie O’Sullivan – The Rocket is always centre stage at the Crucible, and this year the world No1 going for a record eighth title to overtake Stephen Hendry’s tally. Starts against Pang Junxu.

Shaun Murphy – The Magician has been in superb recent form winning two titles, and this may be his best chance of winning a second world title since lifting the trophy way back in 2005.

Mark Selby – After some tough times which saw the four-time champion being very honest about mental health issues, the Leicester Jester looks to be getting back to his best at the right time.

Ding Junhui – Has a very tough first-round match against Iran’s Hossein Vafaei, but despite so many below-par showings at the Crucible the Chinese talisman has the talent to go all the way.

Neil Robertson – So often the Australian arrives in Sheffield as one of the top two in the betting – only to go out in the quarter-finals. After a low-key season, maybe there is less pressure this time.

David Gilbert – Temperamentally all over the shop during his career, the Tamworth qualifier and former semi-finalist is a joy to watch at his best but needs to pull himself out of a slump here.

Robertson is 7/1 to win the World Championship with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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