NEIL Robertson admits that the lack of acknowledgment of his many achievements in his home country of Australia is a source of huge frustration.
The 32-year-old, originally from Melbourne but now based in Cambridgeshire, is one of the undoubted stars of the green baize, and feted as such across the globe.
But in more than a decade covering the tour and despite all Robertson’s many achievements – notably reaching No1 in the rankings, becoming world champion and winning nine ranking titles and the Masters - this correspondent has seen an Australian media presence following the left-hander just once outside events staged Down Under – at the 2010 Crucible final.
And for a nation that proudly celebrates its winners in most other sporting spheres, Robertson remains the exception – struggling for air-time and column inches at home more than most.
There was not even an Australian journalist at the Crucible to witness the player getting to 100 centuries in the season, a remarkable achievement and a story that went around the world.
It is not as if there is no Australian news and sport media presence in the UK, Europe and China with many reporters stationed there for various outlets.
And Robertson’s story is compelling on many levels – from the initial failed crack at the tour through to the startling level of self-improvement that sees him as one of the game’s most feared forces.
Robertson, at the time of writing battling with Mark Selby for a place in the Crucible final, said: “I don’t get a lot of coverage at home, and far more in this country and around the world. I don’t know what I would have to do, win another world title or get 500 centuries in a season.
“There is a very rare interview that gets in, there was one the week before the World Championship – but to be better known back home in Australia it would probably have to be something bad.
“I reckon I would have to punch someone to get the recognition for being world No1 and winning titles during the season.
“In the run-up to the Australian Open last year, my home tournament, all people were asking about a disturbance in the crowd during Judd and Ronnie’s match the year before.
“There is a lot of really bad reporting of snooker, it is all about Aussie Rules and cricket, and Formula one when Mark Webber was right up there. And I get asked it if it is true if I play better when I’m drunk. I don’t, obviously.
“But here it can be the same, there is huge coverage of football and the rest of the sports get the scraps.
“It is tough to follow up once you win the world title because that is the pinnacle so I probably won’t get anything like that until I win it again.”
Photographs by Monique Limbos