Judd Trump conceded “I only have myself to blame” after suffering a first-round exit from this year’s World Championship.
The 2019 champion – and last year’s finalist – fell at the first hurdle in Sheffield for only the third time in 14 appearances following a 10-6 defeat by Anthony McGill at the Crucible.
Trailing 6-3 overnight following a difficult first session on Tuesday, Trump managed to reduce the deficit to a single frame at 7-6.
However, the Ace squandered opportunities to draw himself level, and McGill capitalised to set up a second-round clash with Jack Lisowski.
It capped a generally underwhelming season for Trump. Despite winning the Masters and reaching the Champion of Champions and World Grand Prix final, the Bristolian has struggled to match his performance levels of recent times.
“I had plenty of chances, missed a lot of easy balls. Anthony scored a lot heavier, but I had all the chances I needed,” Trump told BBC Sport.
“Anthony was always going to be tough, but I had enough chances to win, so I only really have myself to blame.
“There were two or three times when I should have got back level. I missed easy balls, ran out of position a lot of times.
“Anthony scored a lot heavier; I needed two or three chances every single time. You’re not going to win against anyone like that in the World Championship.
“[The season has] been a struggle, there’s been a lot more easy balls missed this season than I have done for a long time. Maybe the concentration isn’t quite there.”
As for McGill, the 2020 semi-finalist claimed yet another notable scalp at the Crucible, where he has also defeated the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy since his 2015 debut.
The Glasgow Gladiator defeated John Astley – recovering from 9-7 down to prevail 10-9 – and Cao Yupeng to book his place in the main draw, and he believes the increased match sharpness was instrumental in his victory.
“It’s incredible, it’s right up there. He’s obviously a world champion, so to beat guys like that, it’s unbelievable. [A] tremendous couple of days for me.
“I would much prefer to always be a seed. But I’ve always felt you’re definitely better prepared if you come through the qualifying rounds.
“Whenever I’m in the qualifying rounds, I look at the bright side and say: ‘Hold on a minute; if I get through, I’m going to be a match for someone’. Even for guys as good as Judd, it’s not easy coming in here with no matches against a qualifier that does.”
Also a two-time Crucible quarter-finalist, McGill see no reason why he cannot go all the way in 2023. Doing so would see him become only the third qualifier to lift the trophy after Murphy (2005) and Terry Griffiths (1979).
“I believe, deep down, I can win this. There’s no doubt in my mind I can beat anybody here, but they can beat me as well – it’s a tough standard,” he added.
“I do enjoy the longer matches. In such short matches, just a flick here or there can be the difference between winning and losing. Whereas, typically in matches this length, whoever plays better on the day will probably win.”
18+ | T&Cs Apply | Geo Restrictions may apply | Be Gamble Aware