Snooker duo Trump & Wilson not so pally at Ally Pally

Kyren Wilson (left) celebrates victory over Judd Trump in last season's Masters semi-finals

2019 Dafabet Masters
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 13-20 January
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

There was a certain inevitability about Judd Trump and Kyren Wilson being drawn together in the first round of the Masters.

Take the two best young talents in English snooker, add bundles of confidence, fierce determination, some cracking matches, a personality clash and a few spiky off-baize comments.

Bingo. Alexandra Palace gets its headline tie as snooker’s top 16 chase glory at one the sport’s most prestigious and glitzy invitational events.

“It’s the draw everyone wanted to happen and and was probably destined to happen,” world number nine Wilson told BBC Sport.

“It’s a good rivalry. Some people just don’t see eye to eye but there’s no animosity.

“It’s brilliant for the game and the tournament; it’s good for the fans, good for me and good for Judd.

“It’s probably the most fascinating game of the first round and that’s what we want. It’s a big match on a big occasion.”

Judd Trump

The added spice comes after nine-time ranking event winner Trump did not take kindly to Wilson’s comments during their Champion of Champions meeting in November, which Wilson won 6-1.

The Kettering man, 27, said he tried to send the right message that “maybe he wanted the win a bit more” because he was on the practice table in the mid-session break.

World number five Trump, 29, responded by pointing out, with a big grin on his face, that Wilson’s cueing action meant the younger man needed to practise.

The Bristolian also said the two-time ranking event winner was not much younger and has “not won anywhere near as much as I have”.

Trump told the BBC at the time: “His personality and mine clash a bit.

“People are looking for rivals and us two are probably going to be that. I have never really had an issue with Kyren. I try to avoid confrontation. Now and again you will get personalities that clash and me and Kyren are complete opposites off the table.”

Wilson, last season’s Masters runner-up to Mark Allen, is desperate to fully justify the gathering hype around his undoubted talent.

“Me and Judd are two of the younger lads who want to be at the very top, winning lots of tournaments and pushing the very best,” Wilson added.

World number nine Kyren Wilson

While some may disagree with bracketing Trump as young, in snooker terms he is still relatively youthful, especially compared to the legendary ‘Class of 92’ – the “very best” that Wilson is referring to.

Seven-time Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams have 11 Masters titles and 86 ranking event wins between them.

At 43 years of age, the trio also have almost 15 years on Trump.

Wilson, whose first ranking event win came with a 10-9 win over Trump in the 2015 Shanghai Masters final, added: “Judd’s a great player. He gets a bit of stick with people saying he should have won more but that’s probably because he is so talented.

“When you look at his record, it is fantastic. He has won lots of titles. Our rivalry is maybe seen as a good thing. We are both young and English and there are not loads of young English players coming through so it makes good headlines.

“People are probably trying to spark a rivalry because it’s good for the sport and you can see why. But I have no problem with him. I just want to win. We are both very competitive, but we are not enemies.”

If the rivalry, whether heated, gently simmering or bubbling over, delivers a match similar in quality and drama to last year’s Masters semi-final, then the usually boisterous London crowd are in for a treat when the duo meet in the penultimate last-16 match on Wednesday afternoon.

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Wilson overturned a 5-2 deficit to reach his first Triple Crown final, which he lost to Mark Allen.

“Last year I had a slow start and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” Wilson explained. “But as soon as I settled and started to go for it, I started to produce the goods.

“When you play in an aggressive style and things start to go your way, you get momentum.

“It should be another exciting match.”

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