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McManus: Trump's biggest test could be sweaty Crucible tables in long hot summer

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Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Image credit: Eurosport

ByDesmond Kane
13/04/2020 at 12:01 | Updated 13/04/2020 at 13:01

Alan McManus is concerned that a summer World Snooker Championship could be detrimental to playing conditions at the Crucible Theatre as Judd Trump bids to become the first maiden winner to successfully defend the trophy.

With the 44th staging of the sport's biggest event cancelled next month due to the escalating coronavirus pandemic, World Snooker Tour are key to rearrange the tournament as soon as possible with dates in July or August being touted by chairman Barry Hearn.

That would see this season's campaign run into the summer months with the delayed Tour Championship in Llandudno moved from March and pencilled to run between July 21-26.

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It is a source of some conjecture about whether the public health crisis will have resolved itself in time for snooker to resume by that juncture, but McManus is also concerned about how the tables will play at the Crucible during a sustained period of heat.

Some players are forced to wear a glove to cope with sweaty palms during events in Asia, and heat and humidity could make the Crucible more of a hothouse than the nearby Winter Gardens in Sheffield.

Alan McManus at the table.

Image credit: Eurosport

"One thing I like about the World Championship is the time of year it is held," three-times World Championship semi-finalist McManus told Eurosport.

"It is mid-spring, and the weather is quite nice. The conditions are usually good for playing, but I'm wondering what it is going to be like if we have to go there and play in August?

It will be interesting to find out. That is just from a playing perspective. Conditions can be a bit dodgy in August. I don't know what the air conditioning situation is like in the Crucible, but we'll just have to deal with that at the time.

World number one Trump will bid to become the first first-time winner in Crucible history to defend the title.

He starts as 5/2 favourite ahead of Neil Robertson and Ronnie O'Sullivan having become the first man in history to claim six ranking events in a season lifting the International Championship, World Open, Northern Ireland Open, German Masters, Players Championship and Gibraltar Open.

Having contributed 97 centuries so far, he is likely to overtake Neil Robertson's record for a season of 103 set in 2013/14.

He may have been robbed of crucial momentum, but McManus does not feel it will derail Trump's ambitions for the rest of the campaign, whenever it restarts.

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"It's difficult to put yourself in his head as world champion, but I don't think he'll be that bothered to be honest," said McManus.

"It gives him an extra few months as world champion at least, but he will be disappointed.

Basically as a snooker player, the middle of April is always stamped in your brain. Even at Christmas, your thoughts begin to turn to the build-up. You know that the Crucible is the big time of the season you are building towards.

"He'll be really disappointed that the three tournaments have all gone down with the China Open, the Tour Championship and World Championship being called off when he was in peak form, but he'll just look to regain that momentum as soon as possible."

Desmond Kane

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