Neil Robertson has told his fans that “everything is fine” despite a difficult start to the 2023/24 snooker season.
The Australian suffered another early exit in a ranking tournament on Tuesday, losing the last four frames in a 5-3 reverse to Liam Highfield in the Wuhan Open.
The last-64 defeat matched his performance in the British Open, and there were first-round losses in both the European Masters and at last week’s English Open.
Robertson is yet to claim silverware in 2023 and is set miss out on the upcoming Champion of Champions as things stand.
If he were to go through until the end of December without landing a trophy, it would mark his first failure to do so in a calendar year since 2005.
In the period since then, the Melbourne man has been one of the most consistent elite performers in the game.
In addition to the prestigious Masters, Robertson has won 23 ranking titles including triumphs at both the World and UK Championships.
Still officially ranked at number six in the world, the 41 year-old’s place among the top 16 won’t be in danger until the second half of the season.
It will be at that point when his points from successes in the 2022 Players and Tour Championships will be deducted from his two-year tally.
Robertson will be under pressure to produce between now and then, though, as his provisional ranking ahead of the Crucible seedings cut-off point is down to as low as number 24.
Still, he insists that a turnaround in his fortunes is just around the corner, and he simply needs a some much-needed downtime with his family and friends back home in Australia.
“I don’t normally do posts like this,” Neil Robertson, whose best display this term was a semi-final appearance in the Shanghai Masters, wrote on social media.
“But (I) just want to address my fans who are a bit confused with results.”
“Everything is fine, just missing Australia a bit and have a big trip planned towards the end of the year where I’ll miss the last few events.
“I should have gone last year after my best ever season and mentally paid the price.
“Nobody will know how hard it is being from the other side of the world (I don’t expect them too).
“In the blink of an eye your brothers who were your best friends are suddenly 20 years older as well as other family members.
“It will be four years since I’ve seen them and can’t wait to go home it must be said.
“Like I say, everything is going great with practice and preparation and very much like the result today, over the past 12 months most of my opponents have played the match of their season/career.
“Big results are incoming but patience is the key.”
The next opportunity for Robertson to turn his campaign around will be at the Northern Ireland Open later this month in Belfast.
Meanwhile, Mark Selby also bowed out of the Wuhan Open on day two after losing a 5-4 thriller to Xu Si.
However, pre-tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan reached the last 32 with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Mark Davis.
O’Sullivan, the Shanghai Masters champion, has odds of 5/2 to emerge triumphantly again with top betting offers available from a range of online sportsbooks.
On Wednesday, the action in Wuhan continues with the round of 32 taking place in the £700,000 ranking tournament.
2023 WUHAN OPEN DRAW
Round of 128 (bo9)
(held over fixtures)
Xing Zihao w/o Luca Brecel
Daniel Womersley 3-5 Gong Chenzhi
Si Jiahui 5-2 Wang Xinzhong
Ali Carter 5-2 Bai Yulu
Anthony Hamilton 5-0 Wang Xinbo
Zhou Yuelong 5-2 Baipat Siripaporn
Ding Junhui 5-3 Ashley Hugill
Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-1 Ken Doherty
Round of 64 (bo9)
Xing Zihao 5-4 Michael White
Stephen Maguire 5-2 Joe O’Connor
Ryan Day 5-4 Jackson Page
Marco Fu 3-5 Wu Yize
Ben Woollaston 1-5 Aaron Hill
Martin O’Donnell 5-1 John Higgins
Jordan Brown 3-5 Gong Chenzhi
Elliot Slessor 2-5 He Guoqiang
Mark Selby 4-5 Xu Si
Rod Lawler 2-5 Xiao Guodong
Robert Milkins 5-4 Hammad Miah
Tom Ford 5-1 Cao Yupeng
Jamie Jones 5-4 Ian Burns
Sanderson Lam 2-5 Barry Hawkins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-5 Matthew Selt
Oliver Lines 2-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 5-4 Mark Joyce
Si Jiahui 5-4 Jak Jones
Jack Lisowski 5-3 Scott Donaldson
Ishpreet Singh Chadha 2-5 Sam Craigie
Daniel Wells 1-5 Stuart Bingham
Jamie Clarke 1-5 Ali Carter
Anthony Hamilton 0-5 Zhou Yuelong
Liam Highfield 5-3 Neil Robertson
Ben Mertens 5-1 Dominic Dale
Chris Wakelin 2-5 Lyu Haotian
Zhang Anda w/o Mark Williams
Noppon Saengkham w/o Graeme Dott
Alfie Burden 3-5 Ashley Carty
Yuan Sijun 5-0 Ding Junhui
Pang Junxu 5-3 Stuart Carrington
Mark Davis 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Round of 32 (bo9)
Xing Zihao 1-5 Stephen Maguire
Ryan Day 2-5 Wu Yize
Aaron Hill 5-1 Martin O’Donnell
Gong Chenzhi 4-5 He Guoqiang
Xu Si 0-5 Xiao Guodong
Robert Milkins 2-5 Tom Ford
Jamie Jones 1-5 Barry Hawkins
Matthew Selt 0-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 5-4 Si Jiahui
Jack Lisowski 5-4 Sam Craigie
Stuart Bingham 4-5 Ali Carter
Zhou Yuelong 3-5 Liam Highfield
Ben Mertens 1-5 Lyu Haotian
Zhang Anda 5-1 Noppon Saengkham
Ashley Carty 2-5 Yuan Sijun
Pang Junxu 4-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Round of 16 (bo9)
Stephen Maguire 4-5 Wu Yize
Aaron Hill 5-3 He Guoqiang
Xiao Guodong 4-5 Tom Ford
Barry Hawkins 2-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 5-2 Jack Lisowski
Ali Carter 5-1 Liam Highfield
Lyu Haotian 5-2 Zhang Anda
Yuan Sijun 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Wu Yize 5-4 Aaron Hill
Tom Ford 0-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 2-5 Ali Carter
Lyu Haotian 5-1 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Wu Yize 1-6 Judd Trump
Ali Carter 6-2 Lyu Haotian
Judd Trump 10-7 Ali Carter
Featured photo credit: WST