Trump blasts 'ridiculous' Masters dress code and WST response to his ideas

Judd Trump is continuing to push for change in snooker, having heard nothing from World Snooker Tour on his ideas to modernise the sport, while he cannot understand the ‘ridiculous’ dress code imposed at this week’s Masters.

The Ace spoke out last year on the changes he wanted to see in snooker, focussing on the dress code, commentary, promotion of young players and even styles of play to attract a younger audience.

His comments appeared to have an immediate positive impact as Trump and Jack Lisowski were brought into the BBC coverage of the 2021 World Championship, but Judd says there have been no further significant changes.

‘No, literally at the start of the season they said they’d listened to the interview I did with you, which got loads of good attention,’ Trump told Metro.co.uk. ‘I don’t know if they said that to quiet everyone up, but I’ve heard absolutely nothing.

‘They’ve just tried to let it blow over, but I’ll keep on making my point until it sinks in that I’m not saying it just to moan, they’re things that need to be said.’

Steve Dawson took over from Barry Hearn as WST chairman in the summer and said he planned to meet with Trump about his proposals, but that is yet to happen.

‘I saw him [Dawson] at the Crucible and he said he’d speak to me, but he just never has, so I don’t know,’ said Trump. ‘No one seems to want to listen or pay any attention to what players have to say.’

Trump’s frustrations from last year have clearly not gone anywhere, and his annoyance with snooker’s dress code is brought into even sharper focus at the Masters where players wear a tie rather than a bow tie in afternoon sessions.

The 2019 world champion is a big fan of the event, but explains why he can’t get his head round having to put on a tie at Alexandra Palace, with the dress code actually making it more difficult to play.

‘The whole set-up of the event is amazing, apart from the dress code, which is terrible,’ he said. ‘I don’t know who comes up with the idea to wear a tie in this day and age, but it’s a stupid idea.

‘Don’t get me started, the tie is so bad! I’ve had my mum taking the lining out of my tie today because the lining is too thick. Any tie I get I can’t cue over because the knot’s too big.

‘All players don’t cue the same and me cueing very flat to the table, my cue just goes straight over it. It’s mind-boggling how anyone can come up with this kind of dress code. The bow tie is bad enough but to have a tie in the way is ridiculous.’

Some of Trump’s frustrations stem from a suspicion that the old-fashioned dress codes won’t appeal to a younger audiences.

‘The fact that there’s different dress code for afternoon and night as well, what other sport does that?’ Trump asked. ‘Change the dress code halfway through the day, I don’t understand the logic.

‘At least people know when you turn professional you wear a bow tie, but no one wears a tie – at least not in my age group – I’ve never worn one playing snooker then you’re suddenly thrown in playing in a tie for some strange reason. I don’t get it.’

There was significant change to the dress code at the recent Champion of Champions, which Trump won, but is promoted by Matchroom Sport rather than WST.

The 32-year-old saw some of his ideas implemented, with the players wearing customised t-shirts, and while he accepts that the presentation wasn’t perfect, he was glad to see new things tried out.

‘I really liked the idea,’ he said. ‘The t-shirt wasn’t perfect, but I liked that they were trying. The players give a bit of feedback that it wasn’t perfect, but it was a start.

‘There’s always things I’m ready to moan about, but the Masters is definitely not one of them,’ he said. ‘The Masters is amazing. The crowd always seems to be full or pretty much full for every single game and you’ve got that rowdy London crowd which brings up the excitement.

‘It’s one that every single player looks forward to. It just looks the part. The walk-ons, the crowd, it looks like they’ve given that extra five per cent to make it look special.

‘A lot of events, it’s knock up eight tables, stick you in a room and say, “See ya later,” that’s what it feels like. The players appreciate that extra attention and razzmatazz.’

Trump is at the Masters trying to win the event for a second time and improve the record he holds in Triple Crown events, which he has been criticised for over the last couple of years.

He has been the dominant force on the baize over the last three years and picked up 22 ranking titles in his career, but has won each of the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters once.

The world number two always takes his own view on things and he is not fussed that his record in the traditional big three is not as good as other tournaments, not even classing the UK Championship as one of the biggest three competitions on the calendar.

‘For me, I don’t really class the tournaments on prize money, it’s the set-ups in places like Northern Ireland, Germany, at the Masters, they’re special,’ he said. ‘To win those tournaments, it could be £1 for the first prize, when you walk in and see the set-up, the big crowds, they’re the ones I love to play in.

‘I’d rather win, for example, the German Masters than probably the UK. It’s a better tournament, a better atmosphere, playing in front of a bigger crowd.

‘You can say, “He bottles it in the big events” but how can you not bottle it in front of 2,500 but then bottle it in front of 1,000 people in York? Surely 2,500 is more nerve-racking.

‘The China Open I’ve won a couple of times and I think that’s the second biggest prize money in ranking events.

‘It depends what way you look at it. If you just class the BBC events as the biggest, maybe that was a thing 10-15 years ago but it’s not anymore, other events have come along.

‘I’d be disappointed if I don’t win the Masters again because that is a special event. The ones like the UK, that’s not really the third biggest event, I’m not ever totally disappointed if I don’t do well in that.

‘When I do retire I’m not going to be bothered if someone thinks I’m a bottler because I haven’t won 20 Triple Crowns, but I’m sat on 50 or 60 tournament wins, most century breaks, played the game the way I wanted to, gave it my absolute all.

‘It just so happens that I haven’t been good enough, consistently, in some of the bigger ones, but there’s time for it to change. It can change in a couple of years.

‘Everyone’s going to find a fault and when people aren’t as successful as they want to be they’ll take it out on other people. I’m doing as well as I possibly can be, give it my all every single event, and if I don’t end up with 10 or 15 Triple Crowns then so be it.’

Interview carried in conjunction with Judds sponsors Select Car Leasing – www.selectcarleasing.co.uk

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