Guest writer Frank B. Halfar offers his last piece on the German Masters from the Tempodrom in 2020.
The late night return from the last night of the German Masters inevitably is a melancholic experience. The final has been played, the champion duly crowned, last stewarding duties were taken care of, and there was a spot of after-show party. Now a whole year of waiting beckons until the unique event occurs again, and Berlin returns to its rather sad diaspora role in snooker.
The final between Judd Trump and Neil Robertson was a worthy end of the tournament. Robertson had been viewed by many as the favourite in the final, such was his dominance not only during the first four days here. But every series in snooker has an end, and that it might be Judd Trump who would be the one to bring the Robertson express to a halt could not seriously surprise anyone.
The Australian’s chances looked good until the end of the sixth frame, when he led 4-2. That Trump was able to bring it back to parity at the end of the afternoon session was a clear sign, though the extent at which Robertson seemed to wilt during the evening session was a huge surprise after all. Seriously, there were “time since last pot” inserts next to his name on the monitors, something only his opponents were treated to in a whole series of matches.
Afterwards, what most observers said was that it was mainly Trump’s safety play that won him the championship, that made him find the way to end the streak that Neil Robertson had enjoyed. But the “Thunder from Down Under” shook off his Berlin albatross, his rather modest success here until the Tempodrom in 2020, and he clearly enjoyed himself. There was no mention of his past criticism of the playing conditions on the outside tables this year either.
The most moving moment of the day was when Judd Trump said in his victory interview with Emcee Rolf Kalb that he owes his entire success to his brother, whom to embrace was his first priority after the match had ended. Such humility he was not always known for, and it suits him very well. Judd Trump has not only grown so much as a player, his persona grew with him. Nobody in the capacity crowd at the Tempodrom thought him an unworthy champion.
Referee Rob Spencer exuded the same calm confidence that he did during the entire tournament. It was his debut at the Tempodrom this year. The two German star referees Maike Kesseler and Marcel Eckardt, who both have the German Masters final on their respective resumes already, on this occasion were entrusted with a semi-final each.
So many moments linger after five intensive days of snooker.
Elliott Slessor marveling about the appreciation he and all players below the grand marquee names received by the Berlin audience. Much has been said about the unique atmosphere at the German Masters, that Tempodrom magic. That the enthusiasm is not the domaine reservé of only the biggest stars here surely is an important part of it.
Akani Songsermsawad relentlessly training on the backstage practice tables, for two days after his elimination from the tournament. Never without a friendly smile when acknowledged, which showed why he is called Sunny Akani.
Referee Anastasia Tuzikova, also on her Berlin debut, practically laying on the table to check on the blue.
The giant cake that the venue management presented to the organizers on the occasion of the tenth German Masters. It was shown to the public much like a trophy would, but, alas, not offered to them. This pleasure was shared backstage by the many who work hard to make this event such a success, many of them volunteers.
10 Jahre im @tempodrom!
We are blessed to have such a wonderful team in Berlin.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) February 1, 2020
The camaraderie between us stewards, without which it would be half the fun. Special kudos to our reinforcements from the Rhine-Ruhr area, who faithfully turn up on the Friday every year, and without whom our flu-plagued team would have been lost this year.
Even my writing for SnookerHQ in the small hours every night I’ll miss (though not the sleep deprivation it causes…). My hope is that I may have been able to ferry across a little of what makes these five days of the German Masters so very special. Many thanks to David Caulfield for his renewed invitation.
For 2020 from Berlin, the Tempodrom, the German Masters, it’s Auf Wiedersehen!