Judd Trump is relishing the opportunity of playing in the new Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker in Saudi Arabia.
The world number two will be one of ten players who will be invited to participate in the inaugural staging of the tournament this March.
It will mark the first time a professional snooker event will be held in Saudi Arabia.
“It’s amazing for snooker to be going to different places,” Judd Trump told the World Snooker Tour on Thursday.
“It was amazing for it to go back to China, to feel appreciated again. But (with) the expansion, we’re seeing snooker in new territories now.
“Exhibitions are popping up in different places. It’s amazing that Saudi Arabia wants to get involved also.”
Only a limited amount of details regarding the World Masters of Snooker was released, but one new element got everyone talking.
There will be a 23rd ball – coloured in gold – that will be worth 20 points and can only be potted if a player is on a maximum break.
If someone reaches the traditional 147 point, potting the gold ball will subsequently extend the highest break to 167.
“It’s completely different. They’re trying something different, and hopefully all the players can get behind that,” the Englishman added.
“I think every player wants to be the first to do something, so it’ll be a great achievement if I can do it.”
Trump, meanwhile, reached the semi-finals of this week’s World Grand Prix with a 5-1 defeat of Mark Selby on Thursday.
The top seed is a three-time former winner of the event and is now just two victories away from capturing a fourth ranking title of a strong 2023/24 campaign.
“Mark struggled, but any time you beat him you’re always going to be happy with that performance,” Trump said.
“Especially as comfortable as it was. I’ve had a good record against him recently, and I can kind of feel that when I play.
“I feel comfortable against him, and I just try to play a little bit more attacking than I usually would nowadays – just to make sure things don’t get bogged down.
“After you come from the Masters to here, you’re always going to be a lot more relaxed.
“You just put things into perspective. The Masters is so important nowadays for me, just being in London and things like that.
“When you come here, the first two or three games I don’t really care. They kind of go by in the blink of an eye.
“Now I’m in the semi-final, you start to care again. I’m very happy to be in another semi-final, and for me the tournament kick starts now.”
Trump, who won the World Grand Prix in 2015, 2019, and 2020, has snooker betting odds of 11/10 and is the outright favourite to claim the title for a record fourth time.
The 34 year-old will encounter Cao Yupeng in the last four after the Chinese cueist fought back from behind to oust Mark Williams.
The latter appeared to be in complete control of the contest when he raced into a 3-0 lead.
Yet Cao, three times a ranking event runner-up, turned the match around and won the last few frames with breaks of 74, 55, and 74 to clinch a 5-4 victory.
Trump and Cao’s semi-final will take place on Friday evening, but before that the remaining quarter-finals must be decided.
Last week’s Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan faces Gary Wilson while Ding Junhui entertains Zhang Anda in the other couple of last-eight fixtures.
2024 World Grand Prix draw and schedule
Round of 32 (bo7)
Judd Trump 4-2 Jamie Jones
Lyu Haotian 4-3 Chris Wakelin
Mark Selby 4-3 Yuan Sijun
Ali Carter 4-3 Wu Yize
Barry Hawkins 3-4 Cao Yupeng
John Higgins 0-4 Shaun Murphy
Hossein Vafaei 4-3 Matthew Selt
Mark Williams 4-3 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Zhang Anda 4-2 Dominic Dale
Mark Allen 4-2 Jack Lisowski
Noppon Saengkham 4-1 Xiao Guodong
Ding Junhui 4-3 Ricky Walden
Tom Ford 4-1 Jordan Brown
Gary Wilson 4-2 David Gilbert
Zhou Yuelong 4-1 Stephen Maguire
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Pang Junxu
Round of 16 (bo7)
Judd Trump 4-0 Lyu Haotian
Mark Selby 4-3 Ali Carter
Cao Yupeng 4-0 Shaun Murphy
Hossein Vafaei 1-4 Mark Williams
Zhang Anda 4-2 Mark Allen
Noppon Saengkham 1-4 Ding Junhui
Tom Ford 2-4 Gary Wilson
Zhou Yuelong 3-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Judd Trump 5-1 Mark Selby
Cao Yupeng 5-4 Mark Williams
Zhang Anda 2-5 Ding Junhui
Gary Wilson 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Judd Trump 6-2 Cao Yupeng
Ding Junhui 1-6 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Judd Trump 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan