Neil Robertson wins World Snooker Championship

Sheffield: Australia`s Neil Robertson has pledged to help repair snooker`s shattered reputation after being crowned world champion for the first time.

Robertson became the first Australian to win the event when he defeated former champion Graeme Dott 18-13 at Sheffield`s Crucible Theatre on Sunday.

The 28-year-old was wrapped in the Australian flag as he celebrated a triumph that he hopes will provide a more positive image of snooker in the aftermath of the bribe allegations involving world number one John Higgins.

Robertson, who plans to fly from England to Oslo to show the trophy to his heavily pregnant Norwegian girlfriend Mille, says he is well aware of the need to be squeaky clean following a newspaper report that Higgins agreed to throw frames in return for cash.

"It`s definitely something I was aware of before this final," Robertson said.

"I think it`s the case not just in snooker. You`ve got Roger Federer in tennis and people like that, and before he was the champion he became he was pretty temperamental.

"I don`t have that in my game. I think I`m a pretty calm kind of guy. Obviously there`s a lot of added responsibility now, not just here but for the people back home as well.

"I`ve probably been dealing with it anyway because I`ve been representing Australia, and if there was any hope of more Australian players coming through, I had to have a good reputation.

"That`s definitely important and it`s something I`m going to have to handle. It`s a really big responsibility and it comes with the package."

Barry Hearn, the chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, suspended Higgins from all WPBSA tournaments following the allegations on Sunday.

Higgins strongly denies the allegations that he agreed to throw frames in return for payment and has vowed to clear his name.

The story broke on the first day of the final and Robertson admitted he was shocked by the claims.

"You would be lying if you said you weren`t surprised," he said.

"But this is all about me and my country, and all the people back home.

"What happened with John Higgins won`t overshadow this at all back home. They won`t talk about it; it`ll be all about this."

Robertson, who climbed to number two in the world rankings after his win, pointed out his triumph was another victory for Australian sport.

He said: "England can have the Ashes (cricket trophy) at the moment, I`ll have the World Snooker Championship.

"It`s another sport we`ve become a world champion at, and hopefully I won`t be the last Aussie to do it."

Fatherhood will be another new experience for Robertson and he is looking forward to seeing Mille.

"I am any minute or any day away now (from becoming a father)," he said.

"It`s just the icing on the cake. She will have been watching the final for sure. I was thinking there`s no way in the world the snooker gods are going to allow me to be world champion and then a dad a few days after, it`s just not going to happen.

"But it`s absolutely incredible, an amazing feeling. I`m sure I`m going to go through a few emotions over the next week or so as well."

Robertson now believes snooker can take off in Australia and he hopes the country can stage some high-profile events.

"I`ve got a lot of work ahead of me to try to make the most of this with Australia," Robertson said.

"We have been close to staging tournaments, money hasn`t been quite there and perhaps all that was missing was the promoters back home didn`t have a world champion. Now that`s happened, hopefully something can happen now."

Bureau Report

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