Phil Haigh ✍️
Ronnie O’Sullivan thought he was destined to be a player remembered for his exciting brand of snooker rather than the trophies in his cabinet, but he is delighted that he has managed both style and success.
The Rocket has sealed his place as the consensus greatest player ever, with his record-equalling seventh World Championship title this year largely ending the debate.
The 46-year-old may have the same amount of world crowns as Stephen Hendry, but with more UK Championships, Masters trophies and ranking titles in total than any other player, O’Sullivan is the GOAT on the baize.
The world champion says he never expected to be a winning machine in the mould of a Hendry or a Steve Davis, and while he never dominated an era like those two did, his longevity at the top of snooker has seen him rack up more titles.
O’Sullivan thought his free-flowing, attacking style, along with his naturally rebellious attitude, would see himself go down in history alongside the likes of Jimmy White and Alex Higgins – iconic figures in snooker, but not the prolific winners of Hendry or Davis – but he has managed to emulate, and surpass, all four legends.
‘It would never have bothered me if I hadn’t got to No 5 really,’ Ronnie told SportsMail. ‘At four, I was quite satisfied, six was a milestone because I’d matched Steve Davis. But I was never bothered by the records. I never thought at the end of my career I would be defined by what I won.
‘I thought the legacy I left was to be the most exciting snooker player to watch along with Alex Higgins and Jimmy White and I would win a few tournaments.
‘I managed to do both, which not a lot of people can do.
‘You’re either a Stephen Hendry or a Steve Davis, being a winning machine but you never played the entertaining type of game.
‘Or you’re a Higgins or a White that played the entertaining game but you had to sacrifice winning as much.
‘I would have been more than happy with that written on my tombstone but having equalled Stephen Hendry’s record, I couldn’t wish for more than that.’
O’Sullivan won his first title since claiming his seventh World Championship by winning the Hong Kong Masters in front of a world record snooker crowd of 9,000 on Sunday.
He is back in action this coming Sunday (16 October) when he takes on Lukas Kleckers in the opening round of the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
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