Neil Robertson proved last season that he is only getting better with age.
The all-conquering Australian stormed to FOUR major titles last term with an imperious display of potting. And at 40 the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ shows no signs of taking his foot off the gas in his determined drive to add to his impressive haul of 23 career ranking titles.
“You need a bit of luck sometimes, but last season was absolutely insane,” reflected world No 2 Robertson, ahead of the new season.
“It’s going to be very hard to ever better that.
“But it’s really important to forget about what I achieved last season, reset and get ready for this season.
“Looking back on it, winning Player of the Season capped off an amazing year.
“It was a wonderful season, I’m really proud of what I achieved.
“But I’ve got nothing left to prove, the way I’m playing now is the most fun I’ve had in my entire career.”
Robertson has always been an attacking player, alongside world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and fellow star Judd Trump, arguably the most attacking on the professional tour.
However, Melbourne’s Robertson – who lives in Cambridge – admitted his game suffered when he tried to play “perfect” snooker a couple a few seasons ago. It was then he made a conscious decision to try and play the way which had brought him all of his early success.
Not that winning has ever been a problem, Robertson has won a title every season since 2006, when he won his first with a breakthrough Grand Prix crown.
“I’m in a very privileged position and very grateful to be here, but I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today,” added Robertson.
“I used to try and play snooker too perfectly, I did that for a couple of seasons. But I’ve realized now that I’m much more happier being completely relaxed.
“I’ve released the shackles, that makes me dangerous.
“I’ve got no fear of losing anymore, I prefer to enjoy trying to get over the winning line. That’s the mentality I’ve adopted.
“I’d rather take the criticism playing attacking snooker and losing rather than trying to play perfect snooker.
“I’m at a stage in my career where I really savor what I’ve achieved.”
Robertson famously won the world title in 2010 with a memorable victory over Graeme Dott. He beat the Scot 18-13 in the showcase final at Sheffield’s Crucible Theater but, 12 years later, he is still waiting to win his second world title.
“I’ve won everything that you can in, I suppose the only thing which has eluded me is more world titles,” said Robertson.
“At this stage of my career, winning some tournaments doesn’t matter to me, but I’d love to win the world title again.”
Dott’s battles with depression are well-documented – and Robertson saw his Norwegian wife Mille go through the same struggles. He helped Mille fight her demons and realized he didn’t need to be on the road 24/7, especially with a young family at home. Robertson loves family life and spending quality time with Mille and his son Alexander, 12, and daughter Penelope, 3.
“I’ve got a young family now so I don’t need to play in every tournament these days,” said the three-time UK and two-time Masters champions.
“I used to play in most tournaments, but I’m playing for fun now.
“My family is really important to me, they’re my inspiration to win.
“It gives you a really great buzz to have them there with me when I win tournaments, they’re the memories I love creating.”
Robertson did not try and qualify for the European Masters later this month, the opening tournament of the new season. But he will kick off his silverware charge in the British Open, to be played at the Marshall Arena in Leicester 26 September – 2 October.