Newly-crowned world snooker champion Judd Trump is capable of dominating the game for years to come, according to the first top player to feel the force of his audacious talent.
Former two-time Masters finalist Mike Hallett was still one of the game’s leading figures when he took on a 13-year-old Trump in the Pontins Pro-Arm final in Prestatyn in 2003 – and was beaten 4-2.
Hallett left the north Wales resort that day convinced he had seen a future star of the game – and on Monday night at the Crucible he was proved right as Trump hammered John Higgins 18-9 to take his first world crown.
Hallett, now a commentator for Eurosport, told Press Association Sport: “I first played Judd in Prestatyn in 2003 and he was so young they had to get him out of the creche.
“He was knocking them in off the lampshades and I thought, wow, who is this kid? He was incredible. He beat me 4-2 and I left that Pro-Am thinking I had seen a future world champion.”
Trump displayed a new-found maturity as he swept aside four-time champion Higgins to become the first player to breach £1million in prize money for a single season, after his Masters success in January.
Aside from his outrageous potting, Trump more than matched Higgins in the safety exchanges which made a crucial difference having fallen short to the same player in his previous final appearance in 2011.
Hallett said: “What Judd played in the final wasn’t ‘naughty snooker’, it was crazy snooker. Sunday night was one of the best sessions I have ever seen anybody play.
“Judd is now in a position to really take over. He could dominate the game for the next four or five years. He’ll be thinking, ‘right, I’m really taking over this game now’.
“We were saying it a few years ago but he was dipping in and out. I think that period of his life has gone now. Yes, the Ferraris are still going to crop up, but now he wants trophies in the cabinet.”
- Press Association