Judd Trump believes snooker can benefit from any attention it can get - even from a former Love Island contestant.
The Bristol potter eased into the quarter-finals at the ManBetX Welsh Open on Thursday evening, beating Stephen Maguire 4-1 to line up a last eight clash with world No.10 Shaun Murphy.
But it was away from the table where the reigning world champion hit the headlines last week, playing a frame with Love Island’s Chris Hughes at the World Grand Prix in Cheltenham.
Hughes, who was a contestant in the villa during the show’s 2017 series, is an avid snooker fan, and Trump says it is vital to make the sport as visible as possible to a range of new audiences.
Today was one of the best days of my life. Filmed some great content for @ITVSport and I’ve always said to my mates since being a member of my local snooker club, imagine playing a frame with a pro; today that happened with @judd147t. Judd and Stephen 2 of the best ever. 🐐’s pic.twitter.com/C7d7h9VGmW— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes_22) February 5, 2020
“Chris was cool - I think he’s doing a good job with his presenting, so it was nice to meet him and do some stuff,” he said.
“It was nice for snooker to get that sort of attention we wouldn’t normally get as he’s got a different following, and I think anything like that helps the snooker world expand.
“I’m not particularly a fan of the show and I can’t say I watch it - we’re away so often that I don’t get the time to see anything like that.
“But Chris was a nice guy and he did a good job - he’s got a massive following himself, and I think if anyone gets the chance to try and expand the game of snooker and promote it to a different audience then we all need to chip in together and try and do that.”
Trump raced into a 1-0 lead against Maguire courtesy of a majestic break of 101, struggling for his usual fluency in the remaining four frames but doing enough to hold off the five-time ranking event winner.
The current world No.1 is in pursuit of a fifth ranking event trophy of the season, after triumphing at the International Championship, World Open, Northern Ireland Open and German Masters throughout the year so far.
His clash with Murphy now sees a repeat of the Masters first round match he lost last month, and the 15-time major winner is hoping for a rejuvenated performance under Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena lights.
“There aren’t many positives I can take from tonight, but I’m very happy to be in the next round - it’s a cracking line-up for the quarter-finals and I’m very happy to be involved in it,” he added.
“Shaun beat me at the Masters but I think he won all the tactical frames, which were the key turning points - I scored pretty heavily, and I said afterwards that I wasn’t that disappointed.
“I’m just going to try and keep it a little bit tighter this time and nick those scrappy frames, as they’re the key to winning these games against the top players.”