Neil Robertson makes Masters exit after Stephen Maguire comeback
By Joe Leavey
Neil Robertson refused to shift the blame after his agonising 6-5 first-round Masters defeat at the hands of Stephen Maguire.
The Cambridge-based Australian led 4-0 and 5-1, needing just a frame for victory, but a remarkable comeback from his opponent means that he failed to make the last eight of the tournament for the first time since 2010.
Though he admitted that the wildfires back in his homeland have dominated his thoughts over the last few weeks, the 37-year-old admits that it was a lack of practice that saw him fail to seal victory.
“It’s disappointing to lose, the competitor in me is really disappointed, but my mind has definitely been on back home,” he said.
“I’m certainly not going to make any excuses about today’s result with regard to that, but it puts things into perspective when I get home, check the news and this result just gets deleted from the mind.
“It was just rustiness. I haven’t played a competitive match for a month. If I played the match tomorrow or the next day, little mistakes that I made wouldn't happen, it was just basic things.
Robertson will remain invested in the Alexandra Palace tournament, however, after he announced that he would be pledging £100 for every century break this week to animal charity Wires Wildlife Rescue, on top of a £5,000 donation.
And the Cambridge-based player says that he will have no trouble in getting over the defeat once he puts it all into context.
“You just get over it, we’ve got so many big events,” he continued.
“It used to just be this, the UK and the Worlds that you could actually earn any prize money out of.
“It’s a shame not to be a part of it, because World Snooker have done an unbelievable job, the crowd’s amazing.
“I think it’s the first time I’ve lost first round here as well, so it’s disappointing.”
But, magnanimous as ever, Robertson was quick to give credit to an extraordinary performance from Maguire, who dragged his way back into the match to seal a topsy-turvy 11th-frame-decider.
“He played well though, I thought he definitely won the match,” Robertson added.
“He ran out of position and knocked in a great green to keep the match going, so all credit to him.
“I felt he won the match even though I had a few opportunities to put him away.”
Watch the London Masters LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.
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