Neil Robertson calls for change to 'stale and dated' World Snooker Championship

Neil Robertson wants to see changes to the ‘dated and stale’ World Snooker Championship format, with shorter matches at the climax of the tournament and even a change of venue.

The 2010 world champion believes snooker needs to evolve and that few people want to watch the epic World Championship matches played over best of 33 frames in the semi-finals and best of 35 in the final.

The Australian says that he would never watch a match of that length in its entirety, so struggles to see how casual snooker fans, or potential fans of the sport could be enticed in by such lengthy contests.

The 39-year-old has only been to the Crucible semi-finals once since his incredible world title triumph in 2010 and he admits that his desire for a change in format is a personal choice, but it comes not just from a playing perspective, but also from an entertainment stance.

‘I’ve got a little bit of an issue with the World Championship, with the length of the format,’ Robertson told the Talking Balls podcast. ‘I feel that matches can drag on a bit and I’ve been sucker-punched into getting bogged down too much and getting involved in longer, scrappier frames. Which is my fault and it happened again this year, even though I said it wasn’t going to happen.

‘Personally I don’t really like the format, I think it’s pretty dated and it can be very stale.

‘I’ve never watched a best of 35 from start to finish, ever. You’ll never get the general public watching a best of 35 from start to finish, ever.

‘They’ll watch the final of the Masters or UK [Championship], they’ll dip in and out of the World Championship but they’ll never be engaged in the whole match.

‘From an entertainment point of view, the World Championship is a struggle for me to watch and I’m a top snooker player in the game.’

The Thunder from Down Under is not calling for a move to short format games at the World Championship, but believes the length of matches over the first three rounds are as long as any games should be.

‘I think best of 19 is great, best of 25 is really intriguing but you should just cut it off at that,’ he continued. ‘You don’t need to play best of 33 or 35.

‘For me personally as a sports fan I’d never tune in to watch it, I just wouldn’t, it’s like the equivalent of an eight-day Test match in cricket, it’s far too long.

‘I feel as though we’re going to lose a lot of potential fans of the sport unless we change it up.

‘I feel as though the UK Championship has benefitted a lot from going from best of 17 to best of 11. The players have adjusted, we’re not concerned about playing these long formats anymore, we just want to play the matches and for people to see good entertainment quickly.’

Robertson is not expecting the format to change any time soon and knows he must learn to deal with the longest matches in the sport if he is to add to his one world title.

However, if the World Championship was played over a shorter format, he believes he would already be a multiple world champion by now.

‘I don’t enjoy playing a best of 33 or 35,’ he said. ‘It’s me personally, and I’ve probably lost a bit of focus during some matches and that’s on me. I need to change that, while this event is as long as it is then I need to adjust to that.

‘I’d love it to be a shorter format and I’d probably have won it a few more times since I did, but that’s up to me to change that.’

On the longest matches, Robertson added: ‘As a player it’s kind of boring, you’re not shaking the other guy’s hand and saying, “well played” or “bad luck” you’re saying, “we’re going to continue this four hours later and then the next day.”

‘Sometimes you play a best of 25 over three days and it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a match, it feels like you’re playing three best of 9s at that point.

‘Best of 19 up till the quarters and then best of 25 all the way through would make for a much more entertaining World Championship, that’s my opinion.’

Robertson has previously said he is not a fan of the Crucible ‘from a technical point of view’ as it is too tight for him to comfortably play some shots during the two-table set-up stage of the tournament.

He says there have been shots he simply could not play as the venue is so tight, and would like to see a different venue used until the semi-finals when the event could return to the Crucible for the one-table set-up.

On how tight the venue is, Robertson said: ‘That’s where the Crucible is pretty terrible, really. It’s an amazing place to play when you’re in the semi-finals, one of the best venues you could ever play at.

‘But when it’s that small, compact environment, it’s not a great venue to play at from a player’s point of view. Even though you appreciate all the history that’s gone on there.

‘I wouldn’t mind seeing a change in venue and then bringing it back for the semi-finals and final at the Crucible. I can’t see that happening but that’s probably something I’d look to do.’

For more stories like this, check our sport page

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Source: Read Full Article