Neil Robertson (snooker player)

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Neil Robertson
Neil Robertson at Snooker German Masters (Martin Rulsch) 2014-01-29 03.jpg
Neil Robertson at the 2013 German Masters
Born (1982-02-11) 11 February 1982 (age 32)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sport country  Australia
Nickname
  • The Thunder from Down Under[1]
  • The Melbourne Machine[2]
The Centurion
Professional 1998/99, 2000–2002, 2003–[1]
Highest ranking 1
Current ranking 2 (as of 15 September 2014)
Career winnings £2,395,385[3]
Highest break 147 (2010 China Open, 2013 Wuxi Classic Qualifying)
Century breaks 367[4]
Tournament wins
Ranking 10
Minor-ranking 3
Non-ranking 3
World Champion 2010
www.neilrobertson.net

Neil Robertson (born 11 February 1982) is an Australian professional snooker player. He made his first breakthrough into the top professional ranks in the 2006/2007 season. He won the 2010 World Championship and was the world number one later in the same year, a ranking that he attained again in 2013 and also in 2014. Robertson is the only Australian to have won a ranking event, and was undefeated in his first six televised finals.[5] Robertson is also one of eleven players to win both the world and UK titles, and one of nine to win the triple crown of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters. During the 2013/2014 season he became the first player to make 100 centuries in a single season. Robertson is considered Australia's best ever snooker player, as well as one of the best overseas players (i.e. from outside the United Kingdom) in the sport's history.[1] He plays left-handed.[6]

Life and career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Robertson began his snooker career at 14, when he became the youngest player to make a century break in an Australian ranking event.[7] He began his professional career in the 1998/1999 season.[8] Then, when he was 17 years old, he reached the third qualifying round of the 1999 World Championship.[9]

In July 2003, Robertson won the World Under-21 Snooker Championship in New Zealand.[7] This earned him a vital wildcard spot on the subsequent WPBSA Main Tour. In 2003 he won the qualifying tournament for a wildcard place at the 2004 Masters,[10] where he subsequently lost 2–6 to Jimmy White in the first round.

In 2004/2005 season, he moved up to the top 32 in the rankings, reaching the final stages of 6 of the 8 tournaments, despite having to play at least 2 qualifying matches for each one. He qualified for the final stages of the 2005 World Championship, losing 7–10 to Stephen Hendry in the first round.[11]

In the 2005/2006 season, he continued to progress, moving up to the top 16 of the rankings at the end of the season. He reached 4 quarter-finals in the season, including the 2006 World Championships, in which he fought back from 8–12 down to level at 12–12 against eventual champion Graeme Dott, before losing the final frame by inadvertently potting the final pink, which he needed on the table in his attempts to snooker the Scotsman.

Breakthrough: first ranking title[edit]

He made his breakthrough in the 2006/2007 season.[12] After finishing top of his group at the 2006 Grand Prix's round robin stage (he lost only one match: his opener against Nigel Bond by 2–3), Robertson then beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 5–1 in the quarter-finals of the event. So he went on to the semi-finals, being only the fourth Australian ever to do so in a ranking event. He beat Alan McManus 6–2 in the semis, to reach his first major final, where he faced a fellow first-time finalist, the unseeded Jamie Cope, whom he beat comfortably by 9–5 to win his first ever professional ranking tournament.[13] The win earned Robertson £60,000, his highest amount of money earned in one tournament.

Robertson had early exits in both the UK Championship and the Masters, but found his form again en route to the final of the Welsh Open. He defeated Stephen Hendry 5–3, making a break of 141 in the last frame, then recovered from 4–3 down to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 5–4 in the quarter-finals. He beat Steve Davis 6–3 in the semi-finals, and surprise finalist Andrew Higginson 9–8 in the final to take the title. He led 6–2 after the first session, then dropped six frames in a row to come within one frame of defeat, but took the remaining three frames to win the match.

He reached the second round of the 2007 World Championship, losing 10–13 to Ronnie O'Sullivan despite at one stage winning six frames in a row.[14]

Robertson started 2007/2008 season poorly, making early exits in three of the first four ranking events, plus the 2008 Masters[15] and 2008 Malta Cup. He did reach the quarter-finals of the 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy after wins over Jamie Cope and Ian McCulloch. He finished the season ranked 10th, but outside the top sixteen on the one-year list.

2008–2010[edit]

After a disappointing start to the 2008/2009 season, Robertson reached the final of the 2008 Bahrain Championship, where he played Matthew Stevens. The match lasted almost 6 hours in total, with the Australian edging it 9–7. During the 2009 Masters Robertson and opponent Stephen Maguire set a record of 5 consecutive century breaks. Robertson made 2 centuries, and Maguire made 3, with the 3rd sealing a 6–3 win over the Australian. At the 2009 World Championship Robertson defeated Steve Davis, Ali Carter and Stephen Maguire to reach the semi-finals of the World Championship for the first time, before losing to Shaun Murphy 14–17 (after at one stage recovering from 7–14 behind to level at 14–14).

In October 2009, Robertson clinched the 2009 Grand Prix trophy in Glasgow with a 9–4 win over China's Ding Junhui in the final. His semi-final match with defending champion John Higgins was won on the final black of the deciding frame. Robertson's fourth title made him the most successful player from outside the UK and Ireland in ranking tournaments, although Ding equalled his total at that season's UK Championship.[16] He achieved his 100th career century during the 2009 Grand Prix.[17]

On 1 April 2010 Robertson made the first official maximum break of his career in his second round match in the 2010 China Open against Peter Ebdon.

At the 2010 World Championship, Robertson defeated Fergal O'Brien 10–5 in the first round. In his second round match against Martin Gould Robertson trailed 0–6 and 5–11 before recovering to win the match 13–12. In the quarter-finals he defeated Steve Davis 13–5. He faced Ali Carter in the semi-finals, winning 17–12 to reach the final. There he defeated 2006 champion Graeme Dott 18–13 to become only the third player from outside the UK (and only the second from outside the UK and Ireland), and the first Australian, to become world champion in the modern era of the game.[18] The win took him to a career-high ranking of No. 2 in the following season. Although the record books show Australian Horace Lindrum triumphed in 1952, that was the year when the sport's leading players staged a boycott and to this day in many circles Lindrum is not regarded as a credible world champion.[19]

2010/2011[edit]

Robertson started the new season by losing in the first round of the 2010 Shanghai Masters to Peter Ebdon. However, at the World Open Robertson was drawn in the last 64 against Graeme Dott in a repeat of their world final, Robertson won 3–1 and went on to beat David Morris, Andrew Higginson, Ricky Walden and Mark Williams before producing an assured display to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 5–1 in the final, to confirm his position as the eighth world number 1 in snooker.[20] Robertson was invited to the Premier League Snooker, where he reached the semi-final. He lost 1–5 against O'Sullivan.[21] Robertson reached the quarter-final of the UK Championship, where he lost 7–9 against Shaun Murphy.[22]

Robertson reached the quarter-final of the Masters, but lost 4–6 against Mark Allen.[23] Robertson lost in the first round of the German Masters 4–5.[24] At the next two ranking tournaments Robertson lost in the second round, 1–4 against Graeme Dott at the Welsh Open and 1–5 against Peter Ebdon at the China Open.[25][26] Robertson couldn't defend his World Snooker Championship trophy, as he lost 8–10 in the first round against eventual finalist Judd Trump.[27]

2011/2012[edit]

Neil Robertson winning the Masters trophy in 2012

Robertson's season started in a disappointing fashion as he lost 4–5 to Dominic Dale in the last 16 of his home tournament – the Australian Goldfields Open.[28] However, his form soon improved and at the next world ranking event, the Shanghai Masters, he dismissed Liang Wenbo, Michael Holt and John Higgins, before losing 5–6 to Mark Williams in a tightly contested semi-final.[29] His first silverware of the season came in Warsaw at the PTC Event 6, where he beat Ricky Walden 4–1 in the final.[30] This success was quickly followed up by another PTC title in Event 8 where he again won by a 4–1 scoreline, this time against Judd Trump.[31] Victory ensured that Robertson maintained his record of never having lost in a ranking event final. He would later finish third in the Order of Merit and therefore qualify for the 2012 PTC Finals.[32] His fine form continued into the UK Championship in York, where he beat Tom Ford, Graeme Dott and Ding Junhui en route to his first semi-final in the event.[33] He played Judd Trump and lost in an extremely tight encounter, 7–9, with there never being more than 2 frames between the players throughout the match.[34]

Robertson won the 2012 Masters by defeating Shaun Murphy 10–6 in the final. He beat Mark Allen and Mark Williams in the opening two rounds, before facing Trump in the semi-finals for the second successive major tournament.[35] He exacted revenge for his defeat in York a month earlier by winning 6–3 and said after the match that he had been spurred on by fans cheering when Trump fluked shots.[36] Such was Robertson's feeling that he lacked support from the local crowd, he offered to buy a pint of beer for anyone attending his matches in an Australian hat or shirt,[37] but only one person heeded this call in his semi final match against Mark Williams. In his first Masters final he opened up a 5–3 lead over Murphy in the first session and, although he lost the first frame upon the resumption of play, won four frames in a row to stand on the edge of the title. Despite a brief fightback from the Englishman, Robertson secured the frame he needed with a break of 70 to become the fourth man from outside the United Kingdom to win the event.[38]

Robertson did not advance beyond the second round in any of his next three ranking events and then saw his run of televised finals without defeat finally come to an end when he was beaten 4–0 by Stephen Lee in the PTC Finals.[39][40] He lost in the quarter-finals of the China Open 3–5 to Peter Ebdon, before drawing 1997 champion Ken Doherty in the first round of the World Championship.[39] Robertson won the match 10–4 and then beat qualifier David Gilbert 13–9 to set up a quarter-final clash with Ronnie O'Sullivan.[41] Robertson was 5–3 ahead after the first session, but his opponent produced a match defining run of six frames in a row and went on to win 13–10.[42] Robertson finished the season ranked world number 7.[43]

2012/2013[edit]

Neil Robertson at 2013 German Masters.

Robertson began the season poorly once more as he lost in the first round of the Wuxi Classic and the second round of the Australian Goldfields Open and the Shanghai Masters.[44] He returned to form at the minor-ranking Gdynia Open in Poland by defeating Jamie Burnett 4–3 in the final.[45] At the inaugural International Championship in Chengdu, China, Robertson saw off Ryan Day, Matthew Stevens, Lü Haotian and Shaun Murphy 9–5 in the semi-finals to reach the final.[44] There he led Judd Trump 8–6 but lost four consecutive frames to succumb to an 8–10 defeat.[46] He enjoyed a comfortable passage into the quarter-finals of the UK Championship with 6–1 and 6–2 wins over Tom Ford and Barry Hawkins respectively to face Mark Selby.[44] Robertson squandered a 4–0 lead to lose 4–6 in a match which finished after midnight.[47]

Robertson started 2013 by attempting to defend his Masters title. He produced a comeback in the first round against Ding Junhui by taking the final three frames in a 6–5 triumph, shouting "You beauty!" when he potted the clinching red.[48] Another deciding frame followed in the next round against Mark Allen, with Robertson making a 105 break in it to progress to the semi-finals and a more comfortable 6–2 win against Shaun Murphy.[49] Robertson won three frames from 3–8 down to Mark Selby in the final, before Selby held off the fightback by taking the two frames he required to win 10–6.[50] Robertson was beaten in the semi-finals of both the German Masters (2–6 to Ali Carter) and the World Open (5–6 to Matthew Stevens).[44] Robertson's victory in the Gdynia Open earlier in the season helped him finish fifth on the PTC Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals.[51] Wins over Jamie Burnett, Barry Hawkins, Xiao Guodong and Tom Ford saw him reach the final.[44] He faced Ding and from 3–0 ahead went on to lose 3–4 meaning Robertson who won his first six ranking finals had now lost his last three.[52]

Robertson returned to winning ways at the China Open by winning his seventh career ranking event. He advanced to final by defeating Jimmy Robertson 5–0, Mark Allen 5–1, Marcus Campbell 5–2 and Stephen Maguire 6–5 (after fighting back from 2–4 down).[44][53] He exacted revenge over Mark Selby for his 10–6 loss in the final of the Masters in January by beating the Englishman by the same scoreline, moving to world number two in the process.[54] Despite therefore appearing to be in top form for the World Championship he lost to Robert Milkins 8–10 in the first round, saying afterwards that he should have gone out to win the match rather than getting too involved in safety.[55] Robertson finished the season ranked world number two for the second time in his career.[56]

2013/2014[edit]

In May 2013, Robertson made the second official maximum break of his career in the Wuxi Classic qualifiers against Mohamed Khairy.[57] In the main stage of the tournament, he defeated John Higgins 10–7 in the final to secure his eighth ranking event title. He came from 2–5 down against Higgins to lead 8–5 before withstanding a fightback to complete the victory and ensure his second consecutive ranking event win in China.[58] In his home tournament, the Australian Goldfields Open, he made it past the second round for the first time in the three stagings of the event,[59] before continuing his run by beating Joe Perry 5–2 in the quarter-finals and Mark Selby 6–3 in the semis.[60] He would have become the first man since Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2003 to win back to back ranking events in the same season, but he lost 6–9 to Hong Kong's Marco Fu in the final.[61] On 8 December 2013 Robertson beat Mark Selby 10–7 in the final of the UK Championship, becoming the first overseas player to win all Triple Crown events.[62][63]

In the first session I was getting very frustrated. My focus was on the centuries and not the match. I wasn't even thinking about the century until there were only a few balls left and the frame was finished - then I really went for it. I would rather make the century of centuries here than a 147. I've made a couple of 147s and it's nowhere near the same achievement. Nobody will ever achieve 200 centuries - that would be impossible. For me to be the first player to achieve 100 centuries in a single season is a great honour. It may raise the bar for break-building. Stephen Hendry was the one who always tried to clear up no matter what, and that was the approach that I've taken all season.

Robertson on making his 100th century of the season at the Crucible[64]

In January 2014, during the Championship League, Robertson reached 63 century breaks in a single professional season, breaking the previous record of 61 centuries held by Judd Trump.[65] By early February, Robertson had reached 78 centuries, a feat that Ronnie O'Sullivan called "probably the most phenomenal scoring in the history of the game."[66] In February, he made his 88th century of the season while playing Mark Williams in the last 32 of the Welsh Open, but went on to lose 4–3.[67] At the World Open, he extended his season total to 92 centuries, but lost 4–3 on a re-spotted black against Marco Fu in the last 32.[68] At the China Open he won a trio of deciding frames before beating Graeme Dott and Ali Carter to reach the final, where he lost 10–5 to Ding Junhui.[60][69] He added one more century break during the event and extended the total to 99 in his first two World Championship matches. Robertson also missed a black on a break of 94 that would have seen him reach the 100 milestone during his win over Mark Allen.[70] However, in the 22nd frame of his quarter-final clash against Judd Trump, Robertson made his 100th century break of the season, which also levelled the scores at 11–11. Robertson went on to win the match 13–11 (having trailed 6–2 and 11–8) to set up a semi-final against Mark Selby.[71][72] Selby, the eventual champion, defeated Robertson 17–15 in a high-quality match that saw Robertson make three more century breaks to end his tally for the season at 103.[73] He ended the campaign as the world number three.[74]

2014/2015[edit]

Robertson beat Shaun Murphy on the final black in the quarter-finals of the 2014 Wuxi Classic to win 5–4 and then beat Barry Hawkins 6–3 to reach the opening ranking event final of the 2014/2015 season.[75][76] He played friend and practice partner Joe Perry and from 3–0 behind rallied to lead 8–6, before Perry won three frames in a row to be one away from the title. Robertson then produced breaks of 87 and 78 to win the title 10–9 and paid tribute to Perry's influence on his own career after the match.[77] A week later he comfortably won through to the final of his home event, the Australian Goldfields Open, without any of his opponents taking more than two frames off him.[78] Robertson was beaten in the final of the event for the second year in a row, this time 9–5 against Judd Trump, but reclaimed the world number one spot afterwards.[79]

Personal life[edit]

Robertson was born in Melbourne. During the snooker season, he is based in Cambridge, England.[80] He has practised at Willie Thorne's snooker club in Leicester,[81] and the Cambridge Snooker Centre.

Robertson has a son, Alexander. His Norwegian girlfriend, Mille, had been due to give birth while Robertson was playing in the World Championship final,[82] but the child was not born until eight days later on 12 May 2010.[83]

Performance and rankings timeline[edit]

Tournament 1998/
99
1999/
00
2000/
01
2001/
02
2003/
04
2004/
05
2005/
06
2006/
07
2007/
08
2008/
09
2009/
10
2010/
11
2011/
12
2012/
13
2013/
14
2014/
15
Ranking[56][nb 1] UR[nb 2] UR[nb 3] 188 118 UR[nb 2] 68 28 13 7 10 9 2 5 7 2 3
Ranking tournaments
Wuxi Classic[nb 4] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking 1R W W
Australian Goldfields Open Tournament Not Held 2R 2R F F
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held 1R 2R 1R 1R SF 2R QF 1R
International Championship Tournament Not Held F 3R
UK Championship LQ A 1R LQ LQ 2R QF 2R 1R 2R 2R QF SF QF W
World Open[nb 5] LQ A LQ LQ LQ 3R 1R W RR 1R W W 2R SF 3R
German Masters NR Tournament Not Held 1R 2R SF 2R
Welsh Open LQ A LQ LQ LQ QF 1R W 3R SF 2R 2R 1R 2R 3R
Indian Open Tournament Not Held QF
Players Championship Grand Final[nb 6] Tournament Not Held DNQ F F 1R
China Open[nb 7] LQ A LQ LQ NH LQ 1R 2R 1R 2R 2R 2R QF W F
World Championship LQ WD LQ LQ LQ 1R QF 2R 2R SF W 1R QF 1R SF
Non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not Held SF
The Masters A A LQ A WR A LQ QF 1R QF 1R QF W F QF
Championship League Tournament Not Held RR RR SF RR RR RR RR
Variant format tournaments
Six-red World Championship[nb 8] Tournament Not Held A A A NH A F A
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held QF A A A
Former ranking tournaments
Thailand Masters LQ A LQ LQ Not Held NR Tournament Not Held
Scottish Open[nb 9] LQ A LQ LQ 2R Tournament Not Held MR Not Held
British Open LQ A LQ LQ LQ 1R Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters Non-Ranking LQ LQ NH NR Tournament Not Held
Malta Cup[nb 10] LQ Not Held LQ QF QF 1R 2R NR Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held NR 3R QF 2R Tournament Not Held
Bahrain Championship Tournament Not Held W Tournament Not Held
Former non-ranking tournaments
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held SF Ranking Event Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters A A A A Ranking NH RR Tournament Not Held
Malta Cup[nb 10] R Not Held Ranking Event RR Tournament Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 4] Tournament Not Held RR A A A Ranking Event
Premier League Snooker A A A A A A A A RR A RR SF RR SF Not Held
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
  1. ^ From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. ^ a b New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
  3. ^ He was not on the Main Tour.
  4. ^ a b The event was called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  5. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix (1998/1999–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010) and the LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004)
  6. ^ The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013)
  7. ^ The event was called the China International (1998/1999)
  8. ^ The event was called the Six-red Snooker International (2008/2009) and the Six-red World Grand Prix (2009/2010)
  9. ^ The event was called the Players Championship (2003/2004)
  10. ^ a b The event was called the Irish Open (1998/1999) and the European Open (2001/2002–2003/2004)

Tournament finals[edit]

Ranking finals: 16 (10 titles, 6 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend
World Championship (1–0)
UK Championship (1–0)
Other (8–6)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2006 Grand Prix England Cope, JamieJamie Cope 9–5
Winner 2. 2007 Welsh Open England Higginson, AndrewAndrew Higginson 9–8
Winner 3. 2008 Bahrain Championship Wales Stevens, MatthewMatthew Stevens 9–7
Winner 4. 2009 Grand Prix (2) China Ding Junhui 9–4
Winner 5. 2010 World Championship Scotland Dott, GraemeGraeme Dott 18–13
Winner 6. 2010 World Open (3) England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 5–1
Runner-up 1. 2012 Players Tour Championship Finals England Lee, StephenStephen Lee 0–4
Runner-up 2. 2012 International Championship England Trump, JuddJudd Trump 8–10
Runner-up 3. 2013 Players Tour Championship Finals (2) China Ding Junhui 3–4
Winner 7. 2013 China Open England Selby, MarkMark Selby 10–6
Winner 8. 2013 Wuxi Classic Scotland Higgins, JohnJohn Higgins 10–7
Runner-up 4. 2013 Australian Goldfields Open Hong Kong Fu, MarcoMarco Fu 6–9
Winner 9. 2013 UK Championship England Selby, MarkMark Selby 10–7
Runner-up 5. 2014 China Open China Junhui, DingDing Junhui 5–10
Winner 10. 2014 Wuxi Classic (2) England Perry, JoeJoe Perry 10–9
Runner-up 6. 2014 Australian Goldfields Open (2) England Trump, JuddJudd Trump 5–9

Minor-ranking finals: 4 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2011 Warsaw Classic England Walden, RickyRicky Walden 4–1
Winner 2. 2011 Alex Higgins International Trophy England Trump, JuddJudd Trump 4–1
Winner 3. 2012 Gdynia Open Scotland Burnett, JamieJamie Burnett 4–3
Runner-up 1. 2013 Bulgarian Open Scotland Higgins, JohnJohn Higgins 1–4

Non-ranking finals: 5 (3 titles, 2 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend
Masters (1–1)
Premier League (0–0)
Other (2–1)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2003 Masters Qualifying Event Wales Dale, DominicDominic Dale 6–5
Winner 2. 2012 The Masters England Murphy, ShaunShaun Murphy 10–6
Winner 3. 2012 General Cup England Walden, RickyRicky Walden 7–6
Runner-up 1. 2013 The Masters England Selby, MarkMark Selby 6–10
Runner-up 2. 2013 General Cup England Davis, MarkMark Davis 2–7

Variant event finals: 1 (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2013 Six-red World Championship England Mark Davis 4–8

Team events[edit]

Amateur[edit]

References[edit]

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