Neil Robertson said he couldn't "praise Yan Bingtao highly enough” after his shock defeat to the 20-year-old at the Masters and believes he is more focused than most other young players.
Bingtao caused a huge upset as he came from 3-1 and 5-3 down to beat world No 2 Robertson in the first round.
Playing in the Masters for the first time he didn’t look phased by the occasion, even in the final-frame decider as he skilfully moved balls safe to dent Robertson’s chances of winning.
“He’s probably the only 20-year-old who could compete with me in the safety department,” Robertson told Eurosport.
Robertson heaps praise on Bingtao after first-round Masters exit
“A lot of the other players make it easy for you because they try and play like Ronnie [O’Sullivan] does or Judd [Trump] does and that suits me down to a tee.
“Yan is 20 but he seems to have the experience of someone who is 40. I can’t praise him highly enough, he has all the attributes, the hunger and determination, to try and win these events. That’s really good to see from a young player.
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“A lot of them are on social media non-stop and they care more about how they look coming out of a swimming pool than they do on a snooker table. You have to credit the guys that really want to make things happen in their career.”
Reflecting on his own performance, Robertson acknowledged he may have been a bit rusty after taking time off over Christmas to go to Norway, but says he has no regrets over his preparation.
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“I wasn’t great, that’s probably to be expected from a lot of players having three weeks off over Christmas, and I was fully prepared coming here that I maybe wouldn’t play that well.
“I’ve had a fantastic season so far and if I was to come here and get beat I wouldn’t change the preparation. You have to live your life and Christmas in Norway is very important for Mille [Robertson’s fiancée, Mille Fjelldal] and the kids. I don’t regret going out there for that.”