Neil Robertson says he’s now found out why he’s struggled at the World Cup in recent years, thanks to studying Ronnie O’Sullivan’s performance and talking to Rocket about playing in the Crucible.
The Aussie won the World Cup in 2010 and rose to the pinnacle of the sport, but despite being one of the best players in the world ever since, he has surprisingly disappointed in Sheffield.
Since that Crucible triumph 12 years ago, Robertson has only seen one South Yorkshire semi-final, considering he took his tally to 23 ranked titles, an incredibly poor World Cup performance.
The Thunder from Down Under has suggested reasons in the past including not being able to enjoy close proximity to the Crucible, though he now says that was more of an apology and has identified the issue at play in his shock defeat to Jack Lisowski in the last 16 became clear this year.
“I kind of know what it is,” Robertson told Stephen Hendry on his Cue Tips YouTube channel. “But it’s something I have to do well. It has nothing to do with psychology or anything.
“Look at my game with Jack Lisowski last season, it was a great game, Jack played like crazy, he was so disciplined too, which was really surprising. Then against [John] Higgins, he made more mistakes in the first session than in our whole game.
“I thought this was the Jack I was expecting, the crazy shots. But he had [Peter] Ebdon in his corner, he was so disciplined he deflected shots.
“There were a few units in that game, I was too aggressive at times where I should have held it tighter, not negatively but making it as difficult as possible for him.
“In the Crucible, everyone tries to the end, no matter what, it’s much harder to dominate.
“I’ve seen Ronnie many times during these World Cups how many easy chances he created because his safety was so good, so disciplined that he didn’t give anything away.
“That is a big area to focus on this season. I like playing the aggressive shot, but I just need to be smarter in the way I approach it and not waste frames.
“Going into the last session with Jack I was down 9-7, I thought I would make it a lot harder for him now. Don’t go up on the 7/10, miss it and let it in. Play a shot at nothing, just make it harder and it turned the game around and I was up 12-11. It’s the security element.”
Not only did Robertson take a closer look at the Rocket’s tactical play as he won his seventh world title this year, but he also spoke to the world champion about how he can be successful in Sheffield.
“I’ve talked to a number of players, I’ve talked to Ronnie about this and I now have some tools that I think will be useful,” said Neil.
“I can’t hide from it, people keep coming to me because I’m not sitting at the table.”
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