Neil Robertson is hoping his son’s cancelled football match can propel him to glory at the ManBetX Welsh Open.
The Thunder from Down Under, who lives in Cambridge, powered into the quarter-finals under the Motorpoint Arena lights on Thursday, beating Gerard Greene 4-0 after majestic breaks of 121, 116 and 85.
And the victory extends his stay in Cardiff into the weekend, keeping him away from his family for even longer after also being absent owing to tournaments in Cheltenham, Germany and Austria in previous weekends.
But he says that pain has been eased by Alexander’s - his son - beloved football team having their game on Saturday postponed.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) February 12, 2020
“My son’s football was meant to be on this Saturday, so if I got beaten I would have got to go home and watch it,” he said.
“But now his football’s not on it means I’m going to subconsciously try a bit harder here, so I might do alright!
“When I miss out on Alexander’s football it really hurts me, and I know I won’t get to see his football if I make the quarter-finals and semi-finals of tournaments.
“So when I do well in tournaments, on one side I’m really happy and on one I’m really sad.
“It’s about putting it to the back of my mind mentally - for people who have achievements without kids it is a completely different feeling.
“It’s not so much mental tiredness, it’s just being away from your kids that’s really tough, so I’d say that’s probably the biggest thing for me.”
The world No.2 has been in stunning potting form in recent weeks, reaching three ranking event finals in the space of a fortnight - winning two - to augment his career tally of major trophies to 18.
He also brought up a haul of 700 career century breaks in Cardiff on Wednesday, with his 135 against Mark Joyce placing him fourth on the all-time list.
— Neil Robertson🌱 (@nr147) February 12, 2020
And the 2010 world champion, who is a diligent studier of statistics, says he has surpassed even his own lofty expectations and plots to go even further.
“I was on 699 centuries, and a few mates texted me and said ‘you’ve got to make your 700th century,’” he added.
“It absolutely amazing to be the fourth player to do it and I’m very, very proud of that achievement - 700 was nowhere near when I first started, and 100 was probably where I would set myself, so to get to 700 is amazing.
“I’d love to push on and maybe even reach 1000 as well.”