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Can Trump finally end the Crucible Curse?

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Judd Trump celebrates his world title victory.

Image credit: Eurosport

ByDesmond Kane
02/03/2020 at 14:51 | Updated 03/03/2020 at 08:56

Judd Trump is bidding to become the first world snooker champion to successfully defend the title at the first attempt. When is his first match at this year's tournament?

  • Watch LIVE snooker on Eurosport and the Eurosport Player
  • Trump sweeps aside Bingtao in Players Championship final

When is this year’s World Championship?

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The World Championship begins on April 18 with the final on May 4. Qualifying for the main event begins at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on April 8 until April 15. The world's top ranked 16 players and 16 qualifiers compete over 17 days for the game's most coveted prize.

Where is the tournament held?

The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. It has been the traditional home of the sport’s biggest event since 1977.

Who is the defending champion?

Judd Trump is the defending champion and world number one. He won the tournament for the first time with an 18-9 win over four-times champion John Higgins in the final last May. He will begin the defence of his title on the opening morning of the tournament on Saturday, April 18.

Watch the moment Trump won his first world title

00:01:07

Where can I watch?

Eurosport will be broadcasting all 17 days of the tournament live and uninterrupted starting on Saturday, April 18 at 10am (BST).

How much does the winner of the tournament earn?

The world champion collects a prize of £500,000 with the runner-up earning £200,000 from a total prize fund of £2,395,000.

Is Trump favourite with the bookmakers?

Yes. Trump is an 11/4 favourite for the title having amassed £656,500 so far this campaign from his exploits in ranking events. The 30-year-old from Bristol has won five ranking titles including the International Championship, World Open, Northern Ireland Open, German Masters and Players Championship to increase his career haul to 16. If he wins a sixth ranking event in a season, he will be the first man to achieve the feat in the modern era. Yet he must end the infamous Crucible Curse if he is to regain the world title.

What If...? | Judd Trump

00:01:17

What is the Crucible Curse?

No maiden winner of the event has managed to defend the title at the venue 12 months later, an odd but not insignificant hurdle for Trump to overcome. The Crucible Curse has been part of snooker folklore since the event was first staged at the Crucible 43 years ago. Not so much the Curse of the Black Pearl, rather the black ball.

Who has suffered from the curse?

All of the sport’s leading figures have been snookered in their quest to defend the title at the first attempt. Most notably, Steve Davis was trounced 10-1 by Tony Knowles in the first round in 1982 a year after lifting the first of his six world crowns in 1981. Seven-times champion Stephen Hendry lost 13-11 to Steve James in the last eight in 1991 while Ronnie O’Sullivan was eliminated by 17-13 by Hendry in the 2002 semi-finals. Trump is also part of the curious narrative having usurped 2010 winner Neil Robertson 10-8 in the first round in 2011.

Who else is in contention?

Neil Robertson, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy have 10 world titles between them and all four will fancy themselves to produce a strong bid for the title this year with all four winning key events. Robertson has lifted the European Masters and World Grand Prix with Selby picking up the English and Scottish Open titles and Murphy victorious at the China Championship and Welsh Open. O'Sullivan won the invitational Shanghai Masters event in September.

Crucible odds

  • Judd Trump 11/4
  • Neil Robertson 9/2
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan 9/2
  • Mark Selby 8/1
  • Shaun Murphy 14/1
  • John Higgins 14/1
  • Kyren Wilson 18/1
  • Ding Junhui 18/1
  • Mark Allen 18/1

Anybody else in the running?

2015 world champion Stuart Bingham lifted the Masters in January and looks excellent value at 33/1 while Mark Williams, the winner of a third world title in 2018, is priced as long as 40/1 with some bookmakers.

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