Judd Trump has revealed that his record-breaking run in the 2019/20 season left him struggling for passion and motivation.
In May that year, 'The Juddernaut' won his sole world title, beating John Higgins in a quality final at The Crucible. And Trump, 33, pushed on from there, taking a record-breaking six ranking tournaments in the next season.
Then in a 2020/21 campaign plagued by empty arenas amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump won another five ranking titles, cementing his place as the world No 1. He's failed to maintain that form since, but surprisingly does not look back on his golden period with the fondness snooker fans would expect.
“It did become a little bit boring,” Trump told Stephen Hendry on the seven-time world champion’s YouTube channel. “I think quite a few of the events in my good seasons came when there was no crowd. At the end of it, it became same-old, same-old. I kind of lost the passion.
“Even though I’ve not done as well with the crowds back, I’m enjoying it again. The World Championship final, even though I lost to Ronnie [O'Sullivan], was the first time I enjoyed it again.”
Trump was inadvertently part of history in May, when O'Sullivan beat him 18-13 to equal Stephen Hendry's haul of seven world titles. The same player beat him in the Champion of Champions final, despite a maximum 147 break from Trump, and the Turkish Masters in March remains his only title in 2022.
And he couldn't hide his devastation after losing his Scottish Open quarter-final this month on a dramatic re-spotted black. The world No 3 was agonisingly beaten 5-4 by fellow attacking star Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in an epic Edinburgh encounter..
But despite indifferent results, he says having his brother travelling with him again, something forbidden in the pandemic, has reinvigorated his enjoyment: “When I’ve got Jack it’s like playing in a tournament,” said Trump. “It’s that serious.
“I don’t want to miss when he’s there. There’s no smacking the ball around or getting bored. If I feel like that I sit down for five minutes, but I don’t play for the sake of it and I think that’s why I have been so consistent.”