Snooker’s ‘Ace in the Pack’ Judd Trump is looking forward to returning to Alexandra Palace this week to defend his MrQ Masters title.

Trump, 34, bagged his second Masters crown last year after overcoming Welshman Mark Williams 10-8 in a thrilling encounter.

Top seed Trump starts his defence on Tuesday (January 9) at 1pm against current world number nine Kyren Wilson, who reached the 2018 Masters final but lost to Mark Allen.

And Trump, a winner of 26 World Snooker Tour ranking titles including the 2019 World Championship, always enjoys playing in front of the Ally Pally crowd which he believes are very knowledgeable and passionate.

“It is an amazing feeling walking out as defending champion,” he said.

“I can’t wait to get back there. It is always somewhere that is special to me, but to go there having won it last year is a different kind of reception. It brings a bit of added pressure. You don’t want to go out first round. But for me I will cherish it. 

“It has grown into my favourite event. Especially in the last five years since I won it in 2019, I feel really comfortable there as if I’m playing at home. I enjoy the atmosphere, it is completely different to any tournament. It is more like a rowdy football game with a lot more passion behind it.

"I look forward to playing in this tournament more than any other event. I’ve been reasonably consistent in the last four or five years. I always love playing in the Masters. 

“When you have the more and louder crowd it is more enjoyable to play in front of. When you are in front of ten people in a deciding frame that is more nerve-racking. You feel as if you are desperate to win.

"At the Masters I find it quite fun, I feel at home. It is something about having so many people. When everyone is clapping and cheering then it relaxes me. I feel like I belong there and at that point it is my time to shine.”

The 2024 MrQ Masters kicks off this Sunday (January 7) at 1pm with an intriguing first round clash between Belgium’s 28-year-old current world champion and number two seed Luca Brecel and Jack Lisowski, while the evening session at 7pm sees 2015 Masters winner Shaun Murphy, 41, face tournament debutant Zhang Anda, 32, from China, who claimed his maiden ranking title at the 2023 International Championship in Tianjin, China in November.

Then on Monday (January 8) at 1pm in one of the first round eyecatchers, the ever-popular seven-time Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, 48, meet China’s 2011 Masters winner Ding Junhai in a rerun of last month’s MrQ UK Championship final in which the ‘The Rocket’ from Chigwell won 10-7 to capture his 22nd WST Triple Crown mantle.

The evening session features last year’s beaten finalist and number eight seed Mark Williams and Ali Carter.

The rest of the first round draw sees fifth seed and three-time Masters winner Mark Selby meet Robert Milkins, Mark Allen play two-time Masters champion John Higgins and Austraila’s 2012 and 2022 Masters winner Neil Robertson meeting Barry Hawkins.

The 2024 MrQ Masters runs from January 7 to 14 and a limited number of tickets for some sessions are still available by logging on to otherwise you can catch all the action on the BBC, Eurosport and Discovery+.

Meanwhile, before the start of 2024 MrQ Masters on Saturday (January 6) seven-time world champion and six-time Masters champion Stephen Hendry and comedian Mark Watson will host a live edition of the Snooker Club podcast.

After the question and answer session from the audience, the duo will then each team up with two special guests to be announced in a special doubles showdown for the Snooker Club Trophy.

Tickets cost just £35 each and are available at: