Judd Trump was at Heathrow Airport about to fly to China for the World Open when he spoke to Bristol24/7. Just over a week later, he was flying back to the UK the winner of that tournament; and the following week travelled the shorter distance to Belfast for the Northern Ireland Open, from which he also returned the winner.
As this magazine was going to press, the 30-year-old former Hartcliffe School pupil was preparing for the UK Championship, and he will be traveling to York as the favourite to lift yet another trophy in what has been an incredible 2019. Trump won the world title for the first time in April and has dominated the sport in the past year, winning three ranking events and a second Masters crown.
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So what will he remember most about 2019? “I think obviously what comes to mind is the World Championships win,” Trump said over the phone from Heathrow Terminal Two. “And also beating Ronnie (O’Sullivan) in the Masters was pretty special, giving me the confidence to do what I did in the World Championships.”
In those World Championships in Sheffield in May, Trump played some of the best snooker of his career as he beat John Higgins 18-9 to win his debut world title and take home a cheque for £500,000, making him the first player to amass more than £1m in a single season.
He also became just the 11th man in history to win snooker’s triple crown, having already won the UK Championships and the Masters – the latter a title he took in January, which was his first major title for eight years. It was proof just what a leap to his full potential the sportsman known as the ‘Juddernaut’ has made this year in which he became world number one for the first time and was also named World Snooker player of the year.
“It’s been a dream this year,” said Trump, who celebrated become world champion with a holiday to Las Vegas, and turned 30 in Ibiza where he partied with Calvin Harris.
“I think I have always believed that I could do it. It’s taken me longer than I wanted to. But I think this year, with a lot of hard work and confidence, one thing has led to another and I’m riding a sort of wave at the moment. Hopefully I can keep that up and continue that into this season as well.”
Trump first picked up a snooker cue when he could barely reach his head above the baize. After starting playing pool when aged about five, his dad Steve took him to play snooker at a club in Keynsham, and soon after that father and son were travelling around the UK so he could play in junior tournaments.
Young Trump was English Under-13 and Under-15 champion, and reached the World Under-21 Championship semi-finals at the age of 14. At the same age, he became the youngest player to make a competitive 147.
Trump told Bristol24/7 that he knew he wanted to become a professional potter from the age of 12 or 13. “At school, everybody was picking what they were going to do. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to play snooker. It’s been a steady progression and year on year I think I have got better. I want to now stay world number one and win the world title again.”
His career now takes him around the world, which he said “can be quite tough. Every time I get home I’m quite lazy. I don’t think I ever really ever unpack… You’ve just got to enjoy it I think. I love my job and what I do, performing in front of big audiences across the world.”
He may now live in Essex but Trump still calls Bristol home and although he is unable to go to many games at Ashton Gate, he still closely follows the fortunes of Bristol City. “All my friends still live in Bristol. My family lives there. It’s still somewhere special to me and I’ll probably end up back living there I think in the next couple of years.”