JUDD Trump hopes the Indian Open gets a slice of much-needed luck to help boost the development of snooker in a country with so much potential.
The second staging of the Indian Open, this year at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai, has appeared cursed to some degree from the outset.
The tournament was originally planned for October, in many ways a better slot in the calendar given the packed schedule in the spring in the run-up to the World Championships.
A postponement was necessary due to political unrest surrounding elections in the region – and the new March date saw several big names opt out.
There will be no Ronnie O’Sullivan, world champion Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen or Stuart Bingham - many of the usual contender suspects in the recent past, and Barry Hawkins withdrew from the qualifiers.
Trump was left sweating to the very last minute on his visa for India, an issue to be addressed elsewhere on Inside Snooker.
But he doesn’t think it would take much for the sport to take off, with good displays from home hopes Aditya Mehta and Pankaj Advani high on the wish list.
Mehta, currently India’s only tour professional, reached the final of the inaugural Indian Open and everyone in the game remembers how Ding Junhui took full advantage of a wildcard in 2005 at the China Open to end up beating Stephen Hendry in the final.
Trump, who also acknowledges the task of making an impact with cricket World Cup fever rampant, said: “It looks possible that India could see the kind of surge in interest we have seen in China. And really these things and the big breakthrough can hang on a bit of luck.
“Look at what happened with Ding in China, when he got the wildcard at 17 or 18 for the China Open but then went on and won it beating Hendry. The game exploded.
“Sometimes it is meant to happen, it is the time for that country and if someone makes two maximums or gets some big headlines that way it can all help and kickstart things.
“If Aditya can do well or someone else do something magical, one of the wildcards like Pankaj, then that is very helpful.
“I have friends who have travelled in India and there are a couple of famous rooftop bars in Mumbai with amazing views over the city that I would love to check out if I get the time.
“This week you’re probably going to have to make a maximum 147 in Mumbai to make anyone take notice of the Indian Open in the home market with cricket World Cup fever.
“So that’s what I’ll look at doing, or knocking in a few more centuries at least. I’m not sure I can get to 100 centuries this season, but 85 or 90 would be a good tally.
“I know that the World Cup is a massive event and people are cricket-mad in India.
“India play earlier in the day of my first match in Mumbai, and it would be nice to get out and see that experience and watch it and support them.
“Quite a few top players didn’t enter India this year but I felt I was playing well this season and wanted to play in as many tournaments as possible.
“I went to Australia this year and it paid dividends with the title and I enjoy going to new places.
“Probably there is only Ding ahead of me in the betting for the title, and I have only been losing to very good players playing well this season when I have lost.”
Photograph by Monique Limbos