World no.1 Judd Trump has challenged snooker stars to build on Barry Hearn’s legacy and ‘take the game to another level’.
Trump has shot to prominence over the course of Hearn’s 11-year tenure as the World Snooker Tour chairman, which will come to an end at the conclusion of this year’s World Championship.
The 31-year-old is favourite to win his second world title after a stunning season but made headlines off the table prior to the tournament by claiming the sport is ‘stuck in a rut’.
Revolutionising the dress code, highlighting more young players and changing the voices in the commentary box were among Trump’s suggestions for a shake-up and he believes the onus is now on the players to take snooker to new heights.
“He (Hearn) put on opportunities for everyone and we are all really grateful,” said Trump, speaking after his 10-4 first-round win over Liam Highfield.
“He’s got snooker back to where it should be and it’s time for someone a little bit younger to take over and bring a different angle and enthusiasm.
“The players need to do their job and make it as exciting as possible and take it to another level. We need to appeal to a different audience and take it worldwide.
“It’s important not to go through my career without trying to make the game better. I know a lot of younger players without a voice who may not be taken seriously feel the same as me.
“Everyone I’ve seen has agreed with me – it’s about making little subtle changes here and there to make the game as good as possible.”
Trump will play David Gilbert in the second round after a victory which ensured he will stay above Ronnie O’Sullivan in the world rankings and start next season at the summit.
“It’s a flawed system,” he said. “Everyone in the game would agree I’ve been the best player for the last couple of years.
“For someone (O’Sullivan) to only win two tournaments when I’ve won 11… it’s tough to win the World Championship two years in a row but I think Ronnie would know deep down he’s not been the best over that time.”
Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3