Neil Robertson racks up landmark century after overcoming gaming addiction

Neil Robertson racks up landmark century after overcoming gaming addiction

The Australian admitted the reason behind his lack of form since winning the Riga Masters last June.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Former World Champion Neil Robertson looked in fine form as he eased past Thailand's Noppon Saengkham in the opening round of the World Championships, securing his 500th career century break in the process.

It also presented an opportunity to put to bed the demons of a poor season as the Australian admitting to struggling with a computer game addiction.

Robertson joins legendary trio

Robertson's progression never looked in doubt as he raced to an 8-1 advantage at the end of the opening session.

He laboured on his return to the table as Saengkham stole two frames, only for Robertson to win two of the final three as he added breaks of 70 and 76 to the three half century formulations he had already compiled.

The Australian's highlight undoubtedly came in frame four as a 113 secured his 500th career century. Only Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and John Higgins have passed that landmark but Robertson could have fallen short as he not dealt with an underlying issue.

"I am two months sober"

After winning the Riga Masters in June, Robertson experienced a worrying slip in form as he dropped to ninth in the rankings. After defeating Saengkham, he admitted: "I was heavily addicted to computer games. They can be the most fun thing in the world but they can really set you off on the wrong track in your career."

The depth of the problem expanded deeper than even most gamers would realise. Robertson added: "I've been playing some video games through the night. All of a sudden it is 6am, the birds are tweeting and I'm thinking I've got to get up in a couple of hours to take my son Alexander to school. Then I've got to practice."

Yet Robertson called in a trusty source to overcome the addiction. He continued:"It got to the point, back home in Australia, that my mum would have to create an account and log on to see if I was actually on it instead of playing snooker. I am two months sober. I've had really good application in my practice after dragging myself away."

Bingham pegs back Wilson

The other Crucible action of the day saw Kyren Wilson race into a 5-0 lead against Stuart Bingham as the second round matches began.

Breaks of 71 and 70 helped Wilson get there before Bingham dragged himself back into the contest with three consecutive frames at the end of the session, formulating contributions of 52 and 56 himself.

However, those two contests only seemed to be the warm-up acts for the most eagerly-awaited match of the tournament thus far.

The evening session sees a flustered Ronnie O'Sullivan take on Shaun Murphy who has been openly critical of his opponent's recent confrontations with World Snooker.

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