Reigning world champion Judd Trump insisted he had no regrets despite crashing out of the Betway UK Championship in the tournament’s biggest shock to date.
The 30-year-old had cruised into the last 32, dropping just one frame en route to a clash with world No.98 Nigel Bond, who arrived at the York Barbican having not progressed past the first round of a tournament this season.
Despite racing into a 2-0 lead in the early stages, Trump struggled to produce his best form and saw 54-year-old Bond claim five frames in succession before prevailing 6-3.
But while his defeat came to the shock of the huge crowd, Trump admitted he didn’t harbour any real disappointment with his performance despite seeing his bid to become just the fifth person ever to hold all three Triple Crown titles concurrently come to an end.
“I just can’t put my finger on it really,” he said. “I didn’t play that badly, it’s just what happens in snooker sometimes.
“If I’d gone out there and missed loads of ball in amongst them then I would’ve been really upset with myself, but I’ve practiced hard and at the end of the day I’m not invincible.
“Nigel played brilliantly – I hope I’m still like that when I’m his age! The pressure seemed to be getting to him and the final frame was particularly tight, but the balls just weren’t landing for me.
“It was always going to be very hard to hold all three trophies at once. It would’ve been an incredible achievement, but I never thought about that while I was at the table.
“I’ve done well so far this season and I won’t let this defeat get me down. If anything, it’s just given me inspiration to go away and work even harder.”
For Bond – whose victory clinched his place in the last 16 of the competition for the first time since 2007 – beating the world number one will stay in his memory forever.
A World Championship finalist during his peak in the 1990s, few gave Bond even a chance of victory before he rolled back the years in some style.
“That’s definitely up there with some of the best wins in my career,” he said. “It was certainly the best for a while!
“The last time I played on a TV table at a Triple Crown event was in 2009, so I’m over the moon with how I handled that and how I played. I showed people I can still play at 54!
“I was nervous at the end but I think he probably felt the same. The final frame went down to the wire but luckily I managed to get over the line in the end.”