Neil Robertson
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Neil Robertson – ‘what I’m doing is absolute sacrifice for the sport’

Neil Robertson is determined to rediscover his peak form and turn around what has been a disappointing 2023/24 campaign.

The Australian reached the last 32 of the German Masters on Tuesday courtesy of a 5-0 drubbing of Jimmy Robertson.

Neil looked like the Robertson of old as he fired in a century break and three further sizable contributions to dispatch his unrelated namesake.

It marks only the second time the Melbourne man has embarked on a run to this stage of a ranking event all season.

The 41 year-old remains the world number seven in the official rankings as things stand.

However, with huge sums of money set to be deducted from his two-year tally soon – through his triumphs at the 2022 Players and Tour Championships – Robertson is in jeopardy of dropping outside the top 16 ahead of this term’s World Championship.

Strong performances this week and at the upcoming Welsh Open could help to rectify that.

But even though he wants to produce at his best, he knows from Ronnie O’Sullivan’s recent success that results are what ultimately matter in this game.

“It’s been frustrating as anything,” Neil Robertson told the World Snooker Tour on Tuesday.

“But what it’s done is that you can either feel sorry for yourself, or you can be like, am I doing absolutely everything possible to make sure I’m going to squeeze that extra five per cent out of my performance?”

“Now, I am doing that. You can get very comfortable and complacent when you’re just cruising into the last 16 and quarter-finals.

“You’ve probably seen that with Ronnie recently where, let’s have it right, he’s played pretty awful.

“But he’s been able to just keep winning, because people keep missing blacks off the spots, pinks off the spots.

“He’s gained that reputation of being, at the moment, unbeatable this season – even though he’s played awful.

“He has even talked about it himself, he’s almost laughing about it. People just can’t put him away.

“That has sort of gone for me now, where people are putting me away if I’m not playing well.

“So I just have to play well. I’m not focused on if my opponents are playing the match of their life.

“If they are playing the match of their life, then I’ve done something wrong.

“I’m just really focused on getting the best out of my performances and controlling everything I can do.

“Really super hard work, eating well, sleeping well, diet, physical exercise -there’s absolutely no stone that’s going to be unturned from now until the rest of the season.”

It was well-documented that Robertson took a long overdue trip back to Australia over the New Year period.

Yet he was quick to stress that missing his home country wasn’t the only reason for his recent dip in standard.

“No excuses or anything like that. Missing Australia wasn’t the reason why I was losing.”

“It can sort of impact the way you feel when things aren’t going well, but ultimately, have I been doing everything I can to make sure I get the best performances out of myself?

“I’d probably have to look at it and say that, the season I had 18 months ago where I cleaned up, won four major tournaments, and had an unbelievable season, probably following from that I got a bit lazy and put on weight.

“You probably wouldn’t have seen it, but if I put on just a kilo or two, it makes a massive difference to how I feel in my waistcoat and everything.

“In the UK (Championship) and the Masters especially, it was like I could barely breathe in my waistcoat.

“I’m not going to go to a tailor and make it bigger, I’m going to have to lose the weight.

“Even if I have to struggle in a match, I’m going to force myself to lose the weight and get back to being really lean and feel really good.

“That’s what I’ve been able to do the last couple of weeks, which has been really good.

“I don’t want to dwell on results too much, but what it has done is inspire me to become a better player than what I ever have been before.

“The things that I’m doing now is going to pay off for the next few months, I’m convinced of that. What I’m doing is absolute sacrifice for the sport.

“The things that I’m doing, I’m keeping track of to make sure that I never go back into that situation again.

“It’s very easily done. You just take your eye off the ball for just a moment, and you can be like, I’m just going to start winning now.

“This season, I was like, okay I’m going to practice hard and start winning again. It’s not like that.

“All of a sudden, your opponents think you’re not playing so well, and then they raise their game.

“But I need to put everyone down. I think that’s ten consecutive frames I’ve won in a row now.

“I need to get back to being brutal and just burying opponents into the ground.

“There’s no more happy, smiley handshakes any more. I want the worst for my opponent on the table.

“Away from it, no problem. But on the table, I want them to suffer. That’s what I’ve got to get back to.”

Robertson faces Joe Perry in the last 16 of the German Masters at the Tempodrom on Thursday.


2024 German Masters draw

Round of 128 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-4 Michael White
Peng Yisong 5-4 Alfie Burden
Pang Junxu 5-2 Jimmy White
Haydon Pinhey 5-3 Rod Lawler
Zak Surety 5-3 Jack Lisowski
Alexander Ursenbacher 5-0 Ma Hailong
Hossein Vafaei 5-0 Mink Nutcharut
Elliot Slessor 5-2 Iulian Boiko

Sam Craigie 5-2 Sean O’Sullivan
Liam Pullen 5-1 Stuart Bingham
He Guoqiang 5-4 John Astley
Mark Williams 5-3 David Grace
Graeme Dott 5-3 Victor Sarkis
Ashley Carty 5-2 Noppon Saengkham
Andrew Higginson 5-4 Jiang Jun
Shaun Murphy 3-5 Xu Si

Mark Allen 5-4 Manasawin Phetmalaikul
Louis Heathcote 5-1 Andy Lee
Stephen Maguire 5-1 Rebecca Kenna
Joe O’Connor 5-2 Andy Hicks
John Higgins 5-3 Daniel Wells
Martin Gould 5-4 James Cahill
Zhou Yuelong 5-4 Jak Jones
Tian Pengfei 5-4 Reanne Evans

Jamie Clarke 5-3 Hammad Miah
Scott Donaldson 5-4 Gary Wilson
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-1 Jamie Jones
Zhang Anda 5-3 Mostafa Dorgham
Martin O’Donnell 5-2 Himanshu Dain
Matthew Selt 5-4 Dylan Emery
Matthew Stevens 5-3 Anton Kazakov
Judd Trump 5-0 Lukas Kleckers

Barry Pinches 2-5 Julien Leclercq
Ken Doherty 5-0 Jenson Kendrick
David Gilbert 5-0 Dean Young
Jordan Brown 5-4 Long Zehuang
Robert Milkins 5-4 Allan Taylor
Robbie Williams 5-3 Jackson Page
Ryan Day 5-3 Stan Moody
Oliver Brown 5-0 Andres Petrov

Andrew Pagett 5-3 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Chris Wakelin 5-3 Mohamed Ibrahim
Aaron Hill 5-3 Muhammad Asif
Yuan Sijun 5-2 Ding Junhui
Mark Joyce 5-1 Wu Yize
Si Jiahui 5-4 Lyu Haotian
Alfie Davies 5-4 Sydney Wilson
Mark Selby 1-5 Marco Fu

Neil Robertson 5-1 Sanderson Lam
Jimmy Robertson 5-3 Liam Highfield
Joe Perry 5-0 Ryan Thomerson
Xing Zihao 5-1 Ross Muir
Kyren Wilson 5-3 Oliver Lines
Ben Woollaston 5-1 Anthony Hamilton
Ricky Walden 5-1 Adam Duffy
David Lilley 5-2 Liam Graham

Xiao Guodong 5-1 Ian Burns
Tom Ford 5-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Mark Davis 5-2 Ashley Hugill
Barry Hawkins 5-2 Stuart Carrington
Ben Mertens 5-3 Rory Thor
Fan Zhengyi 5-1 Cao Yupeng
Liu Hongyu 5-0 Dominic Dale
Luca Brecel 2-5 Ishpreet Singh Chadha

Round of 64 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-1 Peng Yisong
Pang Junxu 5-1 Haydon Pinhey
Zak Surety 5-2 Alexander Ursenbacher
Elliot Slessor w/o Hossein Vafaei
Sam Craigie 5-2 Liam Pullen
He Guoqiang 5-1 Mark Williams
Graeme Dott 5-2 Ashley Carty
Andrew Higginson 2-5 Xu Si

Mark Allen 5-2 Louis Heathcote
Stephen Maguire 3-5 Joe O’Connor
John Higgins w/o Martin Gould
Zhou Yuelong 5-0 Tian Pengfei
Jamie Clarke 5-2 Scott Donaldson
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-4 Zhang Anda
Martin O’Donnell 0-5 Matthew Selt
Matthew Stevens 3-5 Judd Trump

Julien Leclercq 5-3 Ken Doherty
David Gilbert 2-5 Jordan Brown
Robert Milkins 5-2 Robbie Williams
Ryan Day 5-3 Oliver Brown
Andrew Pagett 5-3 Chris Wakelin
Aaron Hill 1-5 Yuan Sijun
Mark Joyce 1-5 Si Jiahui
Alfie Davies 5-1 Marco Fu

Neil Robertson 5-0 Jimmy Robertson
Joe Perry 5-1 Xing Zihao
Kyren Wilson 5-1 Ben Woollaston
Ricky Walden 4-5 David Lilley
Xiao Guodong 1-5 Tom Ford
Mark Davis 5-1 Barry Hawkins
Ben Mertens 3-5 Fan Zhengyi
Liu Hongyu 3-5 Ishpreet Singh Chadha

Round of 32 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-2 Pang Junxu
Zak Surety 5-2 Elliot Slessor
Sam Craigie 5-1 He Guoqiang
Graeme Dott 4-5 Xu Si

Mark Allen 5-2 Joe O’Connor
John Higgins 5-3 Zhou Yuelong
Jamie Clarke 1-5 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Matthew Selt 2-5 Judd Trump

Julien Leclercq 5-1 Jordan Brown
Robert Milkins 1-5 Ryan Day
Andrew Pagett 1-5 Yuan Sijun
Si Jiahui 5-1 Alfie Davies

Neil Robertson 5-1 Joe Perry
Kyren Wilson 5-1 David Lilley
Tom Ford 5-2 Mark Davis
Fan Zhengyi 5-2 Ishpreet Singh Chadha

Round of 16 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-0 Zak Surety
Sam Craigie 5-4 Xu Si
Mark Allen 2-5 John Higgins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-5 Judd Trump

Julien Leclercq 2-5 Ryan Day
Yuan Sijun 3-5 Si Jiahui
Neil Robertson 3-5 Kyren Wilson
Tom Ford 3-5 Fan Zhengyi

Quarter-Finals (bo9)

Ali Carter 1-5 Sam Craigie
John Higgins 2-5 Judd Trump

Ryan Day 1-5 Si Jiahui
Kyren Wilson 5-0 Fan Zhengyi

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Sam Craigie 2-6 Judd Trump
Si Jiahui 6-3 Kyren Wilson

Final (bo19)

Judd Trump 10-5 Si Jiahui


Featured photo credit: WST

2 Comments

  1. I’ve got to take issue with Robertson saying O’Sullivan has been awful during his winning run of three major tournaments. There’s no doubt his aura of greatness has intimidated players to help him get over the line on occasions but even in those matches he’s still produced some moments of brilliance. His performance against Ding in the UK final was excellent, almost a 70 plus break every frame he won. At the Masters he started well against Ding and then was poor in the next match with Hawkins. He did finish off Murphy impressively in the semis before producing good hard match snooker to repel Carter. His level at the World Grand Prix was very good in the first three rounds and then he unleashed a peak performance against Ding – was Robertson even watching that match? I’d accept that he’s won tournaments more easily through sheer excellence but to describe his level as awful is disrespectful and a massive exaggeration.

  2. Daniel White

    Neil Robertson’s upcoming drop down the rankings could be the stimulus that he needs to get himself back to form. It’s been snookers loss that he has been in the doldrums as he’s one of the handful of outstanding players who look both classy and creative and set themselves apart from the very good to average pros.

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