Ali Carter has warned Judd Trump his Crucible form cannot last forever.
After his thrilling run to last year’s final, Trump has been installed as the favourite to win the Betfred.com World Championship.
Even though Trump laboured through his opener against Dominic Dale, the explanation that food poisoning left him weakened for the battle was credible and suggested there is better to come.
Carter booked a second-round clash with the 22-year-old thanks to a crushing 10-2 victory over Mark Davis, which he wrapped up swiftly in today’s second session.
And with Carter convinced the day will come when Trump begins to miss and takes a hit to his confidence, the 32-year-old from Chelmsford will be hoping that comes as soon as this weekend.
He takes on Trump in a match which will span Saturday to Monday in Sheffield, and is happy to be in the position where all the focus is on his opponent, who has added the UK Championship title to his achievements since springing to prominence at the World Championship 12 months ago.
“He’s done well. He’s riding on the crest of a wave,” Carter said.
“He plays a very open game which is all very well when it’s all going well for you.
“When things do turn, which they will, no player can keep a run of form up forever. We’ll see how he handles that.
“All of us top players have been about a few years have been on the back of some bad results. And he hasn’t had to experience that yet.
“The amount of balls he goes for when he has those battle scars will show us what he’s really made of.”
Carter envies Trump’s single-minded approach, and would love to have the narrow focus the Bristolian brings to his matches.
“I don’t think he’s got the mind to grasp where he actually is. I think he’s just quite a simple-minded person,” Carter said.
“He just gets on with it and takes it in his stride. My mistake in the past has been that I’m a thinker, and I think about things, whether it’s snooker or business or whatever.
“In some respects that can be a bad thing. With Judd, he doesn’t do that, or he doesn’t appear to, like Neil Robertson, they’re just oblivious to what’s going on around them and just pot the balls in front of them.
“I wish I was like that, I would have won a lot more.”
It has taken a drastic new diet to turn around Carter’s confidence.
The 2008 runner-up, who lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan in his first and only Crucible final to date, was close to giving up snooker as he struggled to manage his Crohn’s disease.
He went as far as approaching Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, to request a year off tour.
But a new approach, which he admits can lead to embarrassment, has given Carter a new rush of energy.
Discussing the symptoms of his medical condition, which has left him weak at times and unable to practice for longer than half an hour, Carter said: “They have eased off. I’ve been on quite a strict exclusion diet, I’ve cut out dairy and wheat, so I’m carrying a lunchbox around with me when I go into restaurants. I feel a bit of an idiot.
“It’s taken three weeks and I’m feeling better every day.
“In December, I was unwell every single day. With going away all the time and being away from home and a poor run of results, I just thought, ’I’ve had enough’.”
That was the point Carter considered retirement, and approached the WPBSA.
“I talked to Jason Ferguson about taking a sabbatical for a year which is what I really wanted to do, but fortunately I’ve been able to stumble across this exclusion diet,” Carter said.
“It’s really hard to do, I like my food like everyone does and living out of a suitcase in hotels it’s difficult to do it. But I’ve got to be disciplined.
“Hopefully now I’ve turned the corner but you never know when it will rear it’s ugly head.”
The way he finished off an under-the-weather Davis, with an immaculate clearance of 132, suggested Carter is close to his best again.
Trump will not be taking him lightly, even though Carter is not placing his expectations particularly high ahead of their clash.
“I’m under no pressure, am I?” Carter said. “Nobody expects me to do anything, and I don’t expect to do anything so we’ll see how it goes.”