Ronnie O'Sullivan compares world number one return to one of snooker's finest achievements

March 30, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Seven
Ronnie O’Sullivan is heading back to the top of the world rankings (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s win at the 2013 World Snooker Championship after taking the whole season off is arguably the sport’s most remarkable achievement, but he reckons his return to world number one at 46 years old is up there with it.

The Rocket will return to the top of the rankings after this week’s Tour Championship, which will begin his fifth spell as world number one.

To still be competing with the best on the planet at 46 years old is quite incredible, but to be sitting atop the rankings at that age is sensational stuff.

O’Sullivan was surprised to hear that he will usurp Mark Selby at the end of this week – as the world champion is not playing at the Tour Championship – and it is a rare achievement of his that has given him plenty of pride.

‘I was just really shocked when someone told me. I was totally surprised and didn’t see it coming really,’ O’Sullivan told ITV4.

‘It was a nice surprise. I’m never normally one for trophies, for records, for being number one, this and that.

‘But actually at my stage of my career and my age, I was like, “That’s quite an achievement.”‘

O’Sullivan holds many of the sport’s most remarkable records, including the fastest 147 at 5 minutes and 8 seconds, the most ranking titles (38) and the most centuries.

Not playing the 2012/13 season and then winning the World Championship is arguably the craziest of the lot, but he reckons returning to world number one is comparable to it.

Although the Rocket has now set himself an even wilder task.

‘I think it’s up there with when I took a year out, didn’t play and went back and won the World Championship,’ he said of going back to the top of the rankings.

‘It felt good, in many ways. Surprised a few people. It’s always nice to surprise people and yourself.

‘My next aim is to try and be in the top eight when I’m a pensioner, so let’s see if we can get that one done.’

The Rocket still has a few years to go at the top to beat his old mentor Ray Reardon, who was world number one at 50 years old in 1983.

O’Sullivan is in action at the Tour Championship this week, taking on Mark Williams in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

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