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Can Judd Trump continue his record-breaking run at the World Championship?

The world of snooker has finally found its new hero for the new decade. Since the game found global appeal in the 1980s, it has been through distinct eras. Steve Davis took the sport to new levels of excellence in the 80s, while Hendry did exactly the same throughout the 90s.

And then we had the class of ’92. These are the men who have dominated the game, turn and turn about, for the past 20 years. John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams all turned pro in 1992 and have shown incredibly longevity at the top. Now, though, the man long touted as the new face of snooker is at last proving what those in the know have been saying for years. Are we finally entering a new era of snooker?

Not before time

Trump won his first World Title last year, with an almost clinical demolition of John Higgins. Yet it was a moment that had been so long-anticipated, many wondered if it would ever arrive. Trump has been on the radar of snooker experts since winning the World Under-21s aged just 14 – and at the same time becoming the youngest ever player to score a competitive 147. It was seen as a question of when, not if, he would become World Champion. Few thought it would take another 15 years, but now, as he turns 30, Trump is finally pushing on and starting to dominate the senior game, just as he did at junior level.

Since seizing the world title, Trump has enjoyed an astonishing run of form. In winning last month’s Gibraltar Open he took his tally of ranking titles this season to six. It’s a feat that not even Hendry or O’Sullivan has achieved. And who would bet against him to add at least one more when the season resumes? Bookmakers like ComeOn! have him as hot favourite, quoting odds around the 5/2 mark. This in spite of the famous Crucible Curse. Remember, no first time winner has ever retained the title since the World Championship moved to the Crucible Theatre in 1977.

Better than Ronnie?

If we are truly entering a new era, Trump needs to prove himself over one man in particular. Those who have dominated the game have first had to exorcise the ghost of their predecessor. Davis usurped Reardon, only to receive the same treatment at the hands of Hendry. In the case of Trump, the man he must beat, and beat convincingly, is O’Sullivan. 

The mercurial seven-times World Champion is widely acknowledged as the most talented man ever to pick up a cue, and he can still beat anyone when he’s in the right frame of mind. Trump cannot afford any such caveats, but if he continues to play at the top of his game, even O’Sullivan acknowledges he will dominate the sport. He told BBC Sport Trump is “in the same mould” as Hendry and Higgins, and added that his best game is “better than John Higgins’ best game, better than Stephen Hendry's best game, and it is better than my best game.”