Neil Robertson has paid tribute to his fellow overseas snooker exports for the impact they have made on the game across the globe.
World number three Robertson is snooker’s most decorated player from outside the British Isles.
Since first turning professional in 1998, the Australian has captured 20 ranking titles – making him one of six overseas players to have enjoyed multiple successes along with Ding Junhui, Ken Doherty, James Wattana, Marco Fu and Cliff Thorburn.
‘The Thunder’ became only the third overseas World champion – along with Thorburn and Doherty – when he lifted the Crucible title in 2010, while he is in an exclusive bracket of just 11 players to have been the world number one.
He was also the first player from outside of Britain to complete a career Triple Crown in 2013, when he captured the UK title to add to his World crown and 2012 Masters victory.
Robertson was voted the best overseas player of all-time in a poll broadcast on Eurosport during his first-round victory over Liang Wenbo at the World Championship.
But the 39-year-old was quick to highlight the achievements of his counterparts – including those of 14-time ranking event winner Ding.
“All the Chinese players we have on the tour now are here because of Ding,” he said.
“Cliff Thorburn was the first player to break the mould of the British dominance.
“James Wattana was the first Asian player to do really well.
“(There are also) people like Tony Drago and Marco Fu – there are so many great overseas players – Kirk Stevens as well.
“All these players have shown the rest of the world that it is open to outside of the British Isles.
“Recently, myself and Ding are the ones that have really broken that dominance where it was Ronnie (O’Sullivan), (Stephen) Hendry, (Mark) Williams and (John) Higgins winning absolutely everything.
“I’m sure that has inspired many other people around the world that aren’t British, that it is possible to do so.”