Robertson seeks to pot back-to-back titles

Australia's greatest snooker player Neil Robertson is back on the baize this week defending his UK Championship title in York.

Neil Robertson launches his defence of the UK Championship, snooker's biggest prize outside the world title, in York this week.

The Australian is the form pick having won the English Open this month and will be seeking to back-up his dramatic late-night success in this event last year.

Then, behind closed doors at Milton Keynes, Robertson and Judd Trump traded snookers into the early hours before Robertson won a cliff-hanging final frame to take the match 10-9.

The 39-year-old Melburnian recalled the closing moments to Sporting Life this week.

"He's potted a great blue and I'm like, get the runners-up speech ready, shake his hand, big smile. But he missed the pink and I was like, ahhhh [screaming].

"Then you've got to come to the table really calm, then triple check the scoreboard, then pot the pink. I knew I only needed the pink. It was silence. You pot a big match ball, a tournament-winning ball like that and you expect raahhh [roars]. It was like, just relief. That's what it was, just complete relief.

"You think you're probably going through a big buzz of excitement, but it's more relief than anything, that it's over, because the pressure is incredible. Any player that says, 'oh no, the pressure isn't that bad'... it's almost unbearable at times."

Not, though, as bad as the first dance at his August wedding to long-time partner Mille.

Robertson added: "I've never been more nervous in my life. It was the dance. Mille had a huge dress and I was so paranoid of tripping over it.

"For some stupid reason I went on YouTube and I was looking up wedding fails, the foundations collapsing from underneath or something like that.

"So we kept the dance pretty simple and I got through it. If I can get through the dance at the wedding, I can get through anything else that snooker can throw at you.

"Honestly, it was the best day of our lives. We were so lucky it could go ahead, it was amazing. The only downside was obviously that more family couldn't come from Australia, but other than that everything was wonderful."

Robertson, known as The Thunder from Down Under, starts his title defence on Thursday [AEDT Friday 0130] when he takes on John J Astley.

Victor in 2013 and 2015 as well as last year there is PS200,000 on offer for the winner.

Currently ranked world No.4 behind Mark Selby, Trump and Ronnie O'Sullivan, Robertson fights a lone hand as the only Australian ranked on the 122-player regular circuit.

The 2010 world champion is also the only one to ever win a ranking tournament though the late Eddie Charlton was world championship runner-up in both snooker and billiards.

Three-time champion Higgins is the lead attraction when the first round gets under way on Tuesday.

O'Sullivan starts his campaign on Wednesday, the same night that world No.1 Selby opens. Trump, like Robertson, starts on Thursday.