Judd Trump’s victory at the BetVictor Gibraltar Open was his 14th ranking title within the past 28 months, extending one of the most prolific winning streaks in snooker history.
In hindsight, Trump’s success at the 2018 Northern Ireland Open, when he came from 7-6 down to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-7 in the final, looks like a key turning point in his career. Up until that point he had won eight ranking titles in 13 years since turning pro in 2005. Since then, he has almost trebled that total – and that golden spell has included a first World Championship title as well as a maiden Masters crown.
Most ranking titles
Ronnie O’Sullivan: 37
Stephen Hendry: 36
John Higgins: 31
Steve Davis: 28
Mark Williams: 22
Judd Trump: 22
Mark Selby: 19
Neil Robertson: 19
In that 28-month stretch, Trump has won 14 of the 36 ranking events he has entered, a phenomenal strike rate of 39%. During the 2019/20 season he became the first player to win six ranking events in a single campaign, while this season he already has five under his belt, with three chances to add to that tally. In the past, only Stephen Hendry (1990/91), Ding Junhui (2013/14), Mark Selby (2016/17) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (2017/18) had won five ranking titles in a season.
Hendry’s most bountiful spell came between the 1989 Asian Open and 1991 British Open, when he won nine of the 15 ranking events he contested (60%). Steve Davis won 18 out of 31 ranking events (58%) between the 1983 World Championship and 1988 Grand Prix, albeit during an era when a much higher ratio of tournaments were non-ranking. O’Sullivan captured the title in eight of the 18 (44%) ranking events he played in between the 2017 English Open and 2019 Tour Championship.
If 31-year-old Trump continues at his current rate, he could reach a total of 40 ranking titles by his mid-30s. During his dominant spell, only three other players have won more than two ranking events:
Most ranking titles since the 2018 Northern Ireland Open
Judd Trump: 14
Neil Robertson: 5
Mark Selby: 4
Ronnie O’Sullivan: 4
Trump’s success is particularly impressive given that, in the current era, the strength in depth on tour is greater than it has ever been. Ten of his last 14 ranking titles have come in ‘flat draw’ events in which he has had to win seven matches to take the silverware.
Few experts would rank Trump outside their all-time top ten. To move into the top five, he may need to add to his single Crucible crown. On current form, he could be set to double his tally at the Betfred World Championship in the Spring.
Users of the official WST app voted Trump the favourite to lift snooker’s most famous trophy this year. Over 3,000 fans voted in the poll, with Trump taking 33.1%, ahead of Ronnie O’Sullivan (30.7%), John Higgins (17.7%), Mark Selby (5.7%) and Neil Robertson ((3.5%) while 9.2% voted for ‘someone else’.