Phil Haigh ✍️
Barry Hearn is in awe of the talent of Ronnie O’Sullivan, who he says is the best snooker player ever by a country mile, but says he is happy to disagree with the Rocket on many issues because the world champion is wrong.
Hearn and O’Sullivan have clashed a number of times over the years with the former chairman and now president of World Snooker Tour not thrilled with some of the things the sport’s star player has said and done.
O’Sullivan has been critical about the way snooker is run over the years, even threatening to form his own breakaway tour away from WST, which Hearn labelled a ‘crazy idea’ with ‘absolutely zero chance’ of happening.
The veteran sports promoter is not concerned that he and Ronnie are not always on the same page, though, confident that he is in the right and knows better than players when it comes to running the sport.
Talking to Orla Chennaoui and Greg Rutherford on Eurosport podcast series, The Breakdown, Hearn said: ‘I’ve known Ronnie since he was 12 years old. We don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. Because he’s got his own ideas. They’re wrong, of course.
‘But it’s okay. Because I have ideas about brain surgery but I wouldn’t advise you letting me operate.’
While Hearn and O’Sullivan may not agree on anything, or much at all, the president has nothing but praise for the world number one as a player.
In fact, he also has a lot of respect for the way Ronnie lives his life on his own terms, even if it steps on Barry’s toes at times.
‘I just think he’s a remarkable talent. I’m in awe of anyone with that type of ability,’ said the 74-year-old.
‘I’ve known him, his mum, his dad, the ups and downs of the family. I got him to be a professional when he was 16 years old.
‘I’ve got a lot of time for the kid. But Ronnie is one of those unique talents that only comes along once in a century, once in a generation, whatever you want to call it.
‘He’s the best snooker player there’s ever been by country mile.
‘I like the fact that he’s in charge of his life, and he does what he wants. Sometimes it’s a pain to me, I have to say, but I can understand that that’s the ultimate in accomplishments – to live a life where you literally do what you want to do.’
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