Neil Robertson is looking to regain his most ruthless, aggressive attitude at the snooker table as he hunts down his best form after a seriously lean spell by his high standards.
The Australian has had a completely forgettable season so far, yet to reach the last 16 of any ranking event and after a steady but unspectacular campaign last time around he is tumbling down the rankings.
The 41-year-old looks likely to have to qualify for the Crucible, but he is doing his best to avoid that and is looking good so far in Berlin this week at the German Masters.
A 5-1 win in his opener against Sanderson Lam was followed by a 5-0 thrashing of Jimmy Robertson in round two and he wants to keep up this dominance, showing no mercy to any opponent that steps in his way.
‘It’s very easily done,’ Robertson told WST of his dip in form. ‘You take your eye off the ball for just a moment and you can’t just say, “oh, I’m going to start winning now.”
‘This season I was like, I’m going to practice hard and start winning again, but it’s not like that. All of a sudden your opponents think, “maybe he’s not playing so well” and then they raise their game.
‘I need to put everyone down. I think that’s 10 consecutive frames I’ve won in a row now.
‘I need to get back to being brutal and just burying my opponents into the ground. There’s no more happy smiley handshakes. I want the worst for my opponent on the table. Away from it no problem, but on the table I want them to suffer. That’s what I’ve got to get back to.’
Robertson returned to his home country over Christmas for the first time in years as he looked for something of a reset, but is not trying to make homesickness an excuse for poor results.
He says there were a number of things he needed to sharpen up in his life as a professional, but he feels that is what he is doing now.
‘No excuses, missing Australia wasn’t the reasons why I was losing,’ he said. ‘It can impact the way you feel when things aren’t going well, but ultimately, have I been doing everything I can to make sure I get the best performances out of myself?
‘I’d have to look at the season I had 18 months ago when I cleaned up, won four major tournaments, probably following from that I got a bit lazy, put on weight. You probably wouldn’t see it, but if I put on a kilo or two it makes a massive difference to how I feel in my waistcoat.
‘At the UK [Championship] and the Masters especially I could barely breathe in my waistcoat. I forced myself to lose the weight and get back to being lean and feeling good, that’s what I’ve been able to do the last couple of weeks.
‘I don’t want to dwell on results too much but it’s inspired me to become a better player than I have ever been before, the things I’m doing now are going to pay off over the next few months, Im convinced of that. What I’m doing is absolute sacrifice to the sport.’
Next up for Robertson in Berlin is either is good friend and mentor Joe Perry or Xing Zihao.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.