Judd Trump is hoping to repay the faith of his local supporters at the ManBetX Welsh Open this week.
The world No.1 and reigning world champion booked his place in round two of the competition with a polished 4-1 victory over James Cahill, keeping his pursuit of a fifth ranking event title of the season alive under Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena lights.
And given he hails from Bristol - just 25 miles away from the Welsh capital - he says he is eager to put a run together in his closest Home Nations event.
“It’s one of my local tournaments and I’m good friends with a lot of Welsh people, so it would be nice to get the job done here one year as I always really enjoy coming back here,” he said.
Fantastic win for me in the German masters against Neil, so tough to beat. 😁 pic.twitter.com/8hZ96NoWwu— Judd trump (@judd147t) February 2, 2020
“There’s a lot to do in Cardiff, the crowds are always really good from the first round and it’s a great city, so I just want to win on its own to be honest, although the fifth ranking event would make it extra special.
“I think the first few rounds are hard at these Home Nations events, especially for the top players - there are so many players and you’ve got to win three or four games before the tournament really gets started.
“When you get down to two tables that’s when it really starts to feel like a proper tournament, and when it gets to the weekend and the fans are there it starts to feel like a really good competition.”
The 31-year-old has dominated the snooker circuit over the past year, lifting his maiden world title at the Crucible before going on to triumph at the International Championship, the World Open, the German Masters and the 19.com Northern Ireland Open.
And while some onlookers may fret that he is peaking too early with the Betfred World Championship just around the corner, the 15-time ranking event winner says he is focussed on maintaining that level all the time.
“I want to peak for the whole season - you don’t have to peak for certain tournaments," he added.
“You don’t want to be worrying about peaking at the right time - I’m putting the work in everyday and that’s why I think I've been rewarded over the past couple of years.
“You get the odd bad tournament but that happens in any sport, and you can’t be perfect the whole time.
“At my age I should be winning this number of tournaments - snooker is in a good place at the moment with all the tournaments, and you can’t go into them not enjoying yourself because then your career is over before you know it.
“It’s important to have the right mindset and enjoy every tournament you play in, otherwise there’s no point playing snooker.”