Judd Trump will lead the way as snooker prepares to return behind closed doors

PA Sport Staff

Judd Trump will kickstart snooker’s return behind closed doors in the opening match of the Championship League in Milton Keynes on Monday.

The tournament, the first since the Gibraltar Open in March when the coronavirus pandemic forced a shutdown, will be staged at the Marshall Arena until June 11.

All players and staff will be tested before entering the venue with players – who will adhere to social distancing guidelines – needing a negative test to take part.

Trump tweeted: “Arrived in Milton Keynes test done hopefully all clear for action tomorrow.. swab up the nose is not enjoyable at all enjoy that everyone.”

Reigning world champion Trump faces David Grace and Stuart Carrington tackles Jak Jones in the opening matches on Monday.

Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan’s first match will be against Kishan Hirani on Friday while Mark Selby, who has three world titles, opens up against Lee Walker on Thursday.

“It will be myself, my opponent and the referee,” Selby told Sky Sports.

“I’m due to play Thursday. I’ll go down Wednesday and get tested.

“Then straight to the hotel and lock myself in my room and wait for the results to come back.

Mark Selby is scheduled to play Lee Walker in his opening Championship League match on Thursday

“Fingers crossed they come back negative and I’ll be good to go. That’s the same for anyone in the tournament.

“This tournament next week I’ve been playing in it for 11 years and am used to playing with no crowd.”

The Marshall Arena has been chosen to stage the tournament because it has on-site accommodation.

The total prize fund is more than £200,000, with the winner claiming £30,000 and a place in November’s Champion of Champions.