Phil Haigh ✍️
Ronnie O’Sullivan got the Bolton crowd laughing after winning the Champion of Champions title on Sunday night, claiming he has been on a roll for 30 years.
The Rocket beat Judd Trump 10-6 to win the event for a fourth time, making three centuries in the final, while Trump sprung into life in the eighth frame with an amazing 147.
It was the second title of the season for the world champion after he won the Hong Kong Masters and when it was put to him that he was on a roll, O’Sullivan said: ‘I’ve been on a roll for 30 years.’
Clearly enjoying himself in the post-match interview, the prospect of the UK Championship starting this weekend was brought up and O’Sullivan replied: ‘I’ve got seven of them so I suppose eight sounds good, could always do with another one I suppose.’
The 46-year-old will go to York as one of the favourites, alongside the likes of Trump and Neil Robertson, especially as it is another event at which he enjoys the set-up.
The world number one has not looked anywhere near his best at the British Open and Northern Ireland Open this season, while he has won the bigger invitational events he has entered.
‘It [the Champion of Champions] is full of good players and you get full crowds, so you’re going to play your best,’ O’Sullivan told ITV.
‘Most of the tournaments these days we play in front of 30-40 people, playing lower-ranked players. It’s very de-motivating, and at my age I need to play in front of an audience like this, otherwise I’m going to be flat.
‘I tend to do better in these types of tournaments.’
On the match itself, O’Sullivan didn’t think either man found their best form, despite some immense snooker and Trump turning in the perfect frame with a maximum.
‘We both know we didn’t flow today. It was a grafting performance. I didn’t leave anything out there. My temperament and attitude, I was just trying to stay as professional as I could and stay in the moment,’ said the Rocket.
‘Even at 6-1 up, I didn’t once think about the lead. I know what Judd is like and I knew he could do what he did and pull back to 7-6. I was just pleased with how I dug in at the end there. We both like to play well every frame, but that is just not possible. This game is too hard for that.
‘I’m not as hungry as all of the other players. I am happy to be here, I like to compete and I like to enjoy the game. No matter what I do, whether it is running or the gym, I am very competitive. I don’t need to be competitive, I am just relaxed and chilled out. I take every match as it comes and I enjoy being out here, it is like being on a holiday to me.’
Trump is still looking for his first title of the season, and his first since claiming the Turkish Masters in March, and he was frustrated with his own performance after looking so good in wins over Mark Allen and Mark Selby earlier in the week.
‘I am disappointed with how I played,’ he said. ‘I thought Ronnie scored very heavily all day. That puts you under pressure, every time you get a chance you have to clear up in one visit. I obviously didn’t do that enough. His scoring was too heavy and well done to him.
‘At that point (the 147), I had nothing to lose. I just thought I would go for a max and see what happens.
‘It is always special to make them and even more so in a final against Ronnie. It is another thing ticked off the CV, but I’m disappointed to lose.’
There was an odd moment after Trump’s 147 as O’Sullivan did not get out of his chair to offer a handshake or fist bump, which is the custom after a player makes a maximum.
Trump did not seem bothered, but Stephen Hendry said the Rocket should have offered some congratulations in the circumstances.
‘Look, no one took more displeasure in their opponents doing things well against them more than me,’ Hendry said on ITV.
‘But shake the guy’s hand. He has made a 147, it’s in the final and you are 6-1 up. Shake the guy’s hand. It was incredible.’
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