The Englishman is the current world number one.
Judd Trump admitted that he felt like a robot at times during the strange 2020/21 snooker season in which several events were played behind closed doors.
The players have returned to Milton Keynes this week for the latest staging of the English Open and there are plenty of fans in attendance, a marked changed from the last campaign when so many tournaments were held at the Marshall Arena amid a bubble environment.
Trump took advantage of the situation the best out of any competitor on the circuit, capturing five titles in Milton Keynes last term, but the 32 year-old reflected that at times it was as though he was a robot.
“It felt unrecognisable really,” Trump told the World Snooker Tour in the aftermath of his 4-1 victory over Matthew Selt on Monday as he played in front of fans at the venue for the first time.
“It’s the same drive up and stay in the hotel, but then actually being out in the arena feels completely different. It felt a lot more like a big event even though it’s the same tournament as last year.”
“For me, it’s so much more special having the crowd there and it’s something that I’ve really missed.
“I was really proud of what I achieved (in Milton Keynes last season), but I wasn’t taking a lot of enjoyment out of the events. I sort of became a robot, got used to winning, and it became a habit really.
“Going away, winning an event, coming back and just doing the same, but there was no real special feeling at all – I’d go home, my brother would greet me for like ten minutes, then I’d go to bed, and it’s done.
“I didn’t become ungrateful, but it didn’t really mean that much to me. Now with having crowds back and seeing the last event in Ireland has sort of got me up for this season and I’d love to be able to get out there winning again.”
Trump compiled breaks of 109, 90, 73, and 53 in a dominant display that comfortably saw him outclass Selt, and the reigning English Open champion was pleased with his performance.
“A couple of my draws have been quite tough this season so far,” said Trump, who will face Jimmy Robertson in the next round for a place in the last 32.
“I’ve managed to win them, and I think it’s just important to get off to a good start. Going 3-0 up is always going to help, but just the manner in which I did it I was able to settle down.”
Mark Selby – who will again replace Trump as the world number one regardless of what happens in this tournament – Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Neil Robertson were among the other marquee names to make it through their opening tests.
Click here to view the full 2021 English Open draw (times: CET)