Pressure is off for defending champion Judd Trump at World Snooker Championships at Sheffield’s Crucible

Judd Trump insists the pressure is off as he looks to complete a record-breaking season by defending his Betfred World Championship.

Judd Trump celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

The world No 1 has already won six ranking titles this season, and opens up this morning against Tom Ford aiming to become the first maiden winner to defend his Crucible title.

Trump certainly has added a ruthless streak, alongside his undoubted cue talent, to finally deliver on the promise he showed when first reaching the 2011 World Championship final.

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“Winning six events is a real achievement, but if I could win the World Championship that would probably be the best season of all time,” said Trump.

NO PRESSURE: Reigning world champion Judd Trump defends his crown at Shefield's Crucible this week. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

“It’s another record to aim at, especially because nobody has ever defended the World Championship after their first year of winning it.

“But for me the pressure just isn’t there for me. I’ve won it before, so I don’t really have anything to lose.

“It’s a free shot for me and I know I’m playing well. I’m probably coming near to the peak of my game – or somewhere close.

“I just want to keep improving and go out there [at the Crucible] and just enjoy it. We’re fortunate to be back playing with everything that’s been going on in the world, so I’m just glad to back playing.

Judd Trump in action at the UK Championships at the York Barbican last year. PA Photo. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

“You’ve got to raise your game to that next level to get over the winning line. My mentality is different now, anything else is just not acceptable.

“My attitude nowadays is that I just to have win it [the title]. It’s been drilled in to me over and over again. I never even thought about winning six titles in a season, it was something that never came into my head.

“In my head I probably didn’t think I could win six events in a season. The season progressed really well, I had a great start and won a title after I won the World Championship.

“That [title] was important, it gave me the confidence to really kick on them. Getting those wins meant anything else was a bonus, so I could just relax and it’s helped.

“My periods of form have been short and sharp, but I’ve managed to win titles in those periods rather than finishing runner-up or losing in semi-finalist. The main difference over the last 18-24 months has been getting to finals and winning them.

“It’s a huge difference from getting to nine finals and losing a few, I’ve won all them I’ve competed in. Now I just know you have to get over the line in finals, it’s no good losing in finals. It’s a horrible feeling sat there when the other guy is lifting the trophy.”

That was Trump’s view in 2011 when the 21-year-old announced himself on the world stage, with his swashbuckling brand of ‘sexy’ snooker, only to fall at the final hurdle, as John Higgins triumphed 18-15.

It took Trump, now 30, a further eight years before he would secure his maiden Crucible title, beating Higgins 18-9 last year.

He added: “My goals were to become world No 1 and win the World Championship – and they’re both done and dusted now. So now it’s nice to add these other records, they’re coming thick and fast because of the way I’m playing.

“I think the pressure is off for me now, I’ve done everything I set out to do. From this moment on it’s a bonus.”

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