Judd Trump explains how ‘idol’ Ronnie O’Sullivan became his snooker inspiration

Judd Trump and Ronnie O'Sullivan

Judd Trump’s career has been inspired by Ronnie O’Sullivan (Picture: Getty Images)

World champion Judd Trump says Ronnie O’Sullivan was the reason he watched snooker growing up and inspired the attacking, free-flowing style of play that has taken him to the top of the sport.

Trump is riding high as world number one and goes into the World Championship this month as the favourite to retain the title he won in some style last year.

The 30-year-old may not have usurped the Rocket as the most popular figure in the game, but he has knocked him off his perch as the man to beat, but the world champ has Ronnie to thank for some of his success.

Watching O’Sullivan as a child caught Trump’s imagination and if it wasn’t for a trip to see the Rocket in Wales, we may not have seen the world champion we have today.

‘For me it was always Ronnie,’ Trump told the Bet Victor Podcast on his snooker inspiration.

‘I can remember when I was very young, my dad took me to a game in either Newport or Cardiff, I was about eight.

‘I remember watching him, I think he won 5-1 and it was just over so fast, I thought, “I want to play like that when I’m older.”

‘He was always my idol growing up and he was someone I looked up to.

‘The way he played the game was what made it so interesting for me and just how he made it look so easy. That’s where I got my inspiration from.’

The Juddernaut admits that he has never been a great watcher of snooker, unless O’Sullivan was at the table.

‘I loved the game, I loved watching Ronnie play, but I wasn’t madly interested in the other players,’ continued Judd. ‘It was only Ronnie I used to watch a lot and some of the big finals.’

Judd Trump

Judd Trump beat John Higgins in style to win the world title last year (Picture: Getty Images)

When a 22-year-old Trump beat O’Sullivan at the Masters in 2012, he said: ‘I’m not the next Ronnie O’Sullivan, but the game needs someone to be in the limelight.

‘A lot of players have bottled it against Ronnie at the Masters, maybe scared to beat him, but I wasn’t.’

He has certainly lived up to that now, having become the first player in history to win six ranking titles in a season this campaign.

Not only was O’Sullivan an inspiration to Trump as a child, but continued to be as a professional as the Bristolian went from precocious talent to dominant world champion.

Trump made serious inroads on the pro game as a youngster, reaching the 2011 World Championship final, but it took time for him to really deliver on his promise, and it was the relentless winning of the likes of the Rocket and Mark Selby that inspired him.

‘When I was 21 and won the China Open and lost in the World Championship final, I was full of confidence,’ said Judd.

‘Then after a year the confidence started to go. After that age I was in the top four or top eight, not dropped below that, but the results weren’t amazing.

O’Sullivan is playing catch-up with Trump these days (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)

‘I was winning one or two events a year, but not really where I wanted to be.

‘I was looking at some of the other players. Ronnie won five events one year, Mark Selby won five events and looking at that inspired me to go away and work at my game.

‘To reach that level I knew sometimes I had to play a game I didn’t want to play and battle and try and win that odd frame that I was losing before to get to the next round and refocus and go again.’

Trump has the chance to better his idol this summer and become the first person to retain their first World Championship title at the Crucible, breaking the notorious Crucible Curse in the process.

The champ gets his defence underway on Friday 31 July.

MORE: ‘Absolutely f***ing ridiculous’: Dave Gilbert and Fergal O’Brien relive snooker’s longest frame

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘wants to keep smothering himself in snooker mustard’

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