Only Judd Trump can decide what he thought of his 2013/14 season but, for impartial observers, it seemed disappointing.
He began it first in the world rankings, dropped to eighth and ended it in sixth position and beaten 13-11 from 9-6 up to Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals of the World Championship.
Trump reached the German Masters final, losing to Ding Junhui, but otherwise did not threaten to win a ranking title. He did win the Championship League and earned over £200,000 in prize money. His tally of 50 centuries was only 11 fewer than the 61 he made during the 2012/13 campaign.
The good news for Trump is that, at just 24, there will be many more seasons to come and he has made a determined start to this one.
In his first match, the qualifier for the Wuxi Classic, he made two centuries against Joel Walker. Trump eventually lost in the last 16 to Stephen Maguire in a match clearly affected by the humid conditions.
Today in Bendigo he was superb: focused, determined, going for his shots and scoring heavily. He made two centuries in beating Rory McLeod and, though he more than competed in the safety game – he was in fact the better of the two tactically – he did not compromise his attacking approach.
It is encouraging for Trump fans that he has gone to Australia, having missed the last two stagings of the Goldfields Open. Only winning breeds confidence, and you can only win if you play. The Australian Open carries the lowest tariff of the full ranking tournaments but winning it can make a huge difference to a career – as Stuart Bingham and Barry Hawkins can tell you.
Trump, of course, is already a winner, three times in ranking events, plus four PTC titles. His last significant triumph came at the International Championship in November 2012.
If he can find some consistency this week then it may only be days until his next – but, as ever, there are some real dangermen waiting to pounce should he slip up.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.