A complex mathematical study, analysing all matches played since 1968, has named John Higgins as the highest performing snooker player of the modern era.
Higgins came out on top ahead of Ronnie O’Sullivan, with Mark Williams third and Stephen Hendry fourth.
The study, led by Joseph D O’Brien of the University of Limerick and published in the Journal of Complex Networks, examined nearly 48,000 results between 1968 and 2020. An intricate algorithm weights results based on the quality of the opponent, and also takes into account head-to-head records between the leading players.
And Higgins came out on top, despite trailing other all-time greats in terms of major titles. He has four World Championship crowns, compared to Hendry’s seven and O’Sullivan’s six, while Higgins has won 31 ranking titles, compared to 37 for O’Sullivan and 36 for Hendry.
Acknowledging the study, Higgins said: “I’m truly flattered, but I have to admit I have not won enough of the big titles consistently to be regarded as the greatest of all time. If I had to give the accolade to anyone it would have to be my rival for so many years…Ronnie!”
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