World champion John Higgins has urged snooker firebrands Mark Allen and Judd Trump to cut out the sniping.
Allen was today fined £250 and warned as to his future behaviour after he swore during a rant directed at World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn during last month’s williamhill.com UK Championship in York.
The 25-year-old Northern Irishman said following his first-round victory over Adrian Gunnell that Hearn’s attitude to snooker was that “the players don’t really matter, so **** the players”.
Trump then angered Neil Robertson last week when he described the Australian’s play as “slow” and “boring” after their BGC Masters semi-final.
Trump, the 22-year-old UK champion being groomed to fill Ronnie O’Sullivan’s shoes as snooker’s biggest draw, lost that match and Robertson went on to win the title.
But Trump reasoned that he would have beaten Robertson “easily” with his best form, a claim Higgins believes showed a lack of respect from the youngster towards the 2010 world champion.
Higgins puts the controversial remarks down to players being unable to shake off the buzz of matches before going straight into interviews.
The Scot said: “It happens. Often when you come off after a big match the adrenaline is still running.
“I’m sure they don’t want to keep on getting fined, so it’s something they’ll definitely learn from.”
Higgins goes head to head with Trump tomorrow in the first round of the PartyPoker.com Snooker Shoot-Out in Blackpool, the three-day event where matches last only 10 minutes.
He will not need to remind Trump of their history, given Higgins beat him in the World Championship final last May.
Higgins wants to see more of Trump at his thrilling best on the table, and less of the type of remarks which rankled Robertson.
“Judd doesn’t really need to say these things,” Higgins said.
“To say that if he played well he’d have beaten Neil easily, that’s being a bit disrespectful to your opponent.
“I think Neil Robertson thoroughly deserved to beat him, but Judd is great for the game. He’s bringing new fans into the game and that’s good.”
Higgins was speaking today after agreeing a sponsorship deal with Negotiate Now, a Glasgow-based business directory and deals website.
He was relishing the journey down from Scotland’s biggest city to the Lancashire coast for the Shoot-Out.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it at Blackpool last year. The crowd got really involved,” Higgins said. “With Judd, the man of the moment, in my first game, it’ll be good, I look forward to it.”
Allen also lines up at the seaside this weekend, with Rory McLeod his first-round opponent.
The row between Allen and Hearn has been defused since the left-hander’s outburst in York, and the punishment from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association was accepted without question.
Allen and Hearn met last month to discuss their differences, and have patched up their relationship.
Allen had criticised the reformatting of various events on the snooker tour, including bringing early-round matches at the UK Championship down from best-of-17 to best-of-11-frame games. Higgins also shares that concern but has been more restrained in his criticism.
Allen said in York: “He (Hearn) needs to get away from the darts factor. It’s getting close to that. I think in the long run he’ll probably do good for snooker, but not for my generation. It’s time to let someone else have a go.”