Match Report

2024 Masters: Neil Robertson Remains Positive as Nightmare Season Continues

In a recent post-match interview following his 6-3 loss to Barry Hawkins in the first round of the MrQ Masters, former world champion Neil Robertson shared his insights on the match, his current form, and the positive impact of his renewed partnership with fellow professional, Joe Perry.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-01-10

7 minutes read

Neil Robertson’s Struggles Continue

Neil Robertson faced another setback in his challenging season as he bowed out of The Masters on Tuesday night, succumbing to a 6-3 defeat against Barry Hawkins.


Throughout most of the match, Hawkins asserted control, establishing a 3-1 lead at the interval and securing the first frame after the game resumed.


However, the Thunder from Down Under, Neil Robertson, showcased a sudden resurgence, igniting the arena with consecutive centuries of 117 and 110. In those moments, he appeared to reclaim his status as a formidable force in the game.


Despite Robertson's resurgence, Hawkins regained control, crafting a break of 69 in the eighth frame and ultimately crossing the finish line in the next, securing a quarter-final clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan scheduled for Thursday.

Slow Beginnings and Moments of Brilliance

Despite a challenging start in the match, Robertson maintained a positive perspective, openly acknowledging a lack of full confidence and match sharpness. The Australian player, known for his candour, shared his insights into the game, emphasizing the hurdles he faced early on.


In a post-match reflection, Robertson highlighted the turning point in his performance, specifically referencing the impactful back-to-back centuries he scored during the encounter. "Yeah, I felt really good. It was a bit of a slow start. I think you could probably see, I'm not sort of full of confidence and match sharpness at the moment, but yeah, when I made those couple of centuries and started to get a bit of a flow going, I felt really good," he remarked.


This moment of brilliance, marked by the consecutive centuries of 117 and 110, served as a resurgence for Robertson, indicating a shift in momentum and a rediscovery of his potent form. Despite the ultimate defeat, Robertson's positive assessment of his game and the evident confidence boost from the notable centuries bode well for the remainder of the season.



Revitalised Partnership with Joe Perry

Reflecting on his collaboration with Joe Perry, Robertson explained the evolution of their partnership. He expressed his initial reservations about working together for the entire season but emphasized the benefits of having someone who knows his game inside out.


"So yeah, we're going to give it a really good go for this season and future seasons, and I'm really happy with how it's going. I think you see a few players who've got good relationships, I guess Lee Walker with Mark Williams, you need a good friend, but someone who also knows the game inside out," Robertson said.


“Overall, I think it’s going to be really good, and I love working with him [Joe Perry] and just being around him in general. He's a great friend of mine,” Robertson on his relationship with Perry. 

A Break Well-Spent

The Australian player also discussed the importance of the mental aspect of the game and how his recent break, which allowed him to spend time with family in Australia, rejuvenated his spirit.

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I missed a couple [tournaments] obviously before while I was in Australia, but I was happy with that decision. It was more important for me to get back home, see family, nephews, and all that sort of stuff. It's my first Christmas back home for 14 years and first-time seeing family members and close friends for four and a half.

Robertson on the importance of family time.

As Robertson returns to the professional circuit, his revitalised spirit, coupled with the positive effects of spending quality time with loved ones, provides a compelling narrative. The extended break in Australia becomes not just a pause in his season but a strategic investment in well-being, mental resilience, and a rekindling of the passion that drives Robertson's pursuit of excellence in the world of snooker.

Renewed Focus and Determination

Regarding his future goals for the season, Robertson expressed optimism and a newfound motivation to give his best in the remaining events.


"I said that I wish I'd gone home after my best-ever season 18 months ago. I should have gone home for a couple of months then I didn't. And I'm paying the price for it this season. But I feel much better now. I feel like a completely different version of myself. I want to practice, I want to compete, I want to be involved in the events. And so yeah, I feel really good. So yeah, just got to be patient with it, and I'm sure results will start coming in," Robertson affirmed.

Looking Beyond Defeat

Importantly, Robertson addressed the issue of his current ranking and the potential impact on his participation in the prestigious World Championships in Sheffield. Unfazed by his current standing, he confidently asserted that if needed, he would go through the qualification process. This assertion showcases not only his self-belief but also a strategic approach, prioritizing his mental and physical well-being over temporary ranking concerns.


"So yeah, just got to be patient with it, and I'm sure results will start coming in," Robertson concluded, underlining his faith in the process and hinting at a focused and measured approach to the upcoming challenges. As he sets his sights on the World Championships, his determination and willingness to qualify, if necessary, paint a picture of a seasoned player confident in his abilities, unperturbed by the current standings, and poised for a strong resurgence in Sheffield.


Image credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.