sport

Mum's the word for Robertson

UK champion Neil Robertson has put his success down to his mother after completing snooker's 'triple crown' on Sunday.

The Australian beat Mark Selby 10-7 in the final at York's Barbican Centre to add to his 2010 World and 2012 Masters titles and became only the eighth player - and the first from outside the British Isles - to win all three.

The 31-year-old from Melbourne, who is also ranked number one in the world, was watched by mother Alison and acknowledged the sacrifices she and the rest of his family made when he embarked on his professional career.

Robertson famously relocated to Cambridge 10 years ago with just enough money to buy a waistcoat and begin entering events on the professional tour.

And he said of Alison's support: "She really is a fantastic mum, she hasn't done it easy raising myself and my brother.

"She's worked so hard, as well as her partner Chris, to help with my career.

"When I came over in '03 to Cambridge they helped me so much, along with my father. Without their support I probably wouldn't be here."

His early financial worries are a thing of the past and with a 150,000 payday for his latest success, Robertson plans to treat his mother.

She was just as emotional as her son after victory was completed and Robertson smiled: "Awww, that's what mums are for I suppose!

"She's been fantastic support all week and I'm sure she'll get some nice Christmas presents now."

Alison's one previous trip to Britain to see her son play was to the Crucible in 2010.

And with her 'lucky charm' status seemingly established, Robertson joked he will have to keep her in the country until January's Masters.

"I was thinking that, she'll have to stay on for a month or so!" he said.

"It's possibly a tournament she'll come to, maybe not this season but next year."

Robertson is now playing his part in nurturing the next generation in Australian snooker - starting with Vinnie Calabrese, who was beside Alison to watch the final.

The world number 111, who produced a first-round upset against Dominic Dale at the Barbican, is grateful for his free lodger status with Robertson in Cambridge.

"I cannot describe how much help he has been to me - on and off the table," Calabrese told BBC Sport.

"Neil's advice and support has been awesome. He lets me stay and doesn't charge me a penny.

"He was the same as me a few years back, I suppose, and remembers what he had to go through. I appreciate what he has done for me so much.

"But I think he likes having me around!"

Victory in York required Robertson to battle from 5-1 down against a player noted for his treacherous safety play, and who had made snooker's 100th maximum break in his semi-final win over Ricky Walden a day earlier.

The situation echoed this January's Masters final, when Selby opened up an 8-3 lead and held off Robertson's three-frame rally to win 10-6.

This time around, Robertson was able to win the last two frames of the afternoon session and three of the four before the evening interval to level, before kicking on for victory.

"It's just a real sense of pride, the way I came back from 5-1," he said.

"It was looking like another result similar to the Masters, the match went pretty much the same way, so I was glad that I could turn things around.

"Mark said he didn't play really well but his safety is so good and when you get out of rhythm against him, even when you get a chance it's really hard to get things going.

"From 5-1 to 5-3, that was really key. He would probably have been really disappointed with that but that's when I started making breaks.

"I know I've got the ability to win three, four, five frames in a row against people without them having much of a look in, and it scares people when you start knocking in big breaks like that."

Selby saw his title defence in York stall at the final hurdle and said: "I'm obviously disappointed to lose, but more with the performance really.

"I played half-okay in the afternoon, shut Neil out and picked up the pieces.

"But from 6-4 he made two centuries on the trot (122 and 132) and he thoroughly deserved to win. He played better in the match as a whole, and certainly second session he played better.

"I've got to take the positives, I got to the final of the second-biggest tournament not playing well and I've had the 147."