The 16 Seeds: Neil Robertson
Continuing our series of Cazoo World Championship previews.
By David Hendon
Seed 6: Neil Robertson
Robertson is the most successful non-British player of all time, with 23 ranking event wins to his name and 34 titles in total, including two triumphs at the Masters.
He first emerged as a raw teenager in the late 1990s before returning to the circuit in 2003 after winning the world under 21 title. The Melbourne left-hander won his first ranking event at the 2006 Grand Prix and has been a regular winner ever since.
In fact, Robertson has won a title of some description every calendar year since his first, a record that he will extend to 18 years if he collects silverware in 2023.
Robertson has been such a consistent winner – he captured four titles last season – that the current campaign has to go down as disappointing.
He has reached three ranking event semi-finals but, outside of winning the new world mixed doubles tournament with Mink Nutcharut, there has been little to cheer.
It should be remembered that Robertson has won the world title, because too often he is talked about as an underachiever at the Crucible. His 2010 triumph was a proud moment for a player who sacrificed much, moving to the other side of the world to pursue a dream which ultimately came true.
Nevertheless, it isn’t his favourite venue. He feels it is too cramped, inhibiting his natural style of playing. Despite this, he has played some brilliant snooker in the early rounds in recent years before fading. He hasn’t been in the one-table set-up since 2014.
There was one genuine highlight last year as Robertson compiled only the 12th maximum break in Crucible history.
Previous Crucible appearances: 18
Matches played: 44
Matches won: 27
Crucible centuries: 80
Robertson heads to Sheffield this year with less general expectation about his chances, which could well be a good thing. Maybe a relatively quiet season will leave him fresher for the Crucible marathon.
Possibly the hardest player to predict. Robertson’s brilliance is not in question but Sheffield has been an unhappy hunting ground for him this last decade. Law of averages, he surely has to come good again.
Bookmakers’ odds on Robertson: 15/2