AUSTRALIAN Neil Robertson has rated the Champion of Champions event as one of the best in the snooker calendar after claiming his first win Coventry on Sunday evening.
The former World Champion made breaks of 114, 71 and 69 to beat Mark Allen 10-5 at the Ricoh Arena to become only the second ever Champion of Champions winner.
Robertson had narrowly missed out on the final in each of the previous two years with Ronnie O’Sullivan lifting the two previouis titles.
But this year it was Robertson’s turn to claim what he feels is fast becoming one of snooker’s coveted prizes and he also took home a winner’s cheque for £100,000.
“The support all week has been wonderful and this tournament is a real challenger as our fourth major of the season, it is absolutely amazing,” said champion Robertson, who beat Rory McLeod, Yan Bingtao and Joe Perry on route to the final.
“You have to win tournaments to get here, it is a brilliant tournament and conditions were wonderful.
“This is the first major title I have picked up in over 12 months now so it is nice to be able to break the duck there and now I can move on for the rest of the season.”
Robertson was especially pleased to have picked up the title with son Alexander in attendance inside the Ricoh Arena.
“I said not to come until I looked like winning because I brought him up for the final of the Masters and Shaun Murphy beat me 10-2,” he laughed.
“It is a great moment and all his friends at school I am sure will be looking at it and maybe be a bit jealous.
“Commiserations to Mark, he has had a great week but he just wasn’t quite at his best and didn’t have the luck either.”
Allen had enjoyed a return to form heading into the Champion of Champions event having won the European Tour’s Bulgarian Open last weekend.
And despite crawling back to within three frames of Robertson at 8-5 in the final evening session, his opponent took a scrappy 14th frame which proved to be a key moment in the match.
Allen added: “He (Neil) played very, very well in spells and showed why he is a former world champion and former world number one.
“I am disappointed with the way I played myself, I had more than enough chances in different parts of the match but I just wasn’t up to it.
“I was nervous from the first frame and never settled down really and I got what I deserved.
“I said last week I thought Neil was the best all-round player in the world and he showed that in spells. People like Neil drive me on to get better and I will go straight back to the practice table and I will get better.
“There are lots of positives to take from the last nine days, I wasn’t even in this event a week ago.
“The support I have had this week has been fantastic. This is what we play snooker for, to play in big arenas, packed out and have lots of support.”