Phil Haigh ✍️
Ronnie O’Sullivan has labelled Barry Hawkins as a player who ‘doesn’t bring the fight enough’ and an example of the kind of player who doesn’t really believe they can win when they take on the Rocket.
The world champion had some complimentary words for the Hawk, describing him as ‘a nice guy and a fantastic player’ but also said it was his likeable personality that lets him down on the table.
O’Sullivan finds some players easier to get the better of than others, and he does not think that is always down to how good they are at playing the shots, but how much they are willing to scrap it out with him.
When thinking of a player who he gets an easier ride with than he should do, it was the Hawk who popped into his head.
Talking to Orla Chennaoui and Greg Rutherford on Eurosport podcast series, The Breakdown, O’Sullivan said: ‘There are certain players that you just think are not up for the fight.
‘They are great players or very good players, but you just know that they don’t believe that they can beat you, and you kind of have an easier time against those guys.
‘It is not their fault, it is just their personalities. They are just nice guys. It is like Barry Hawkins: he is such a nice guy and a fantastic player, but because he is so nice he doesn’t bring the fight enough.
‘You know, you have got to have a bit of that niggly… then there are other players who are nowhere near as good as Barry Hawkins, but they are like Jack Russell-type people.
‘You just think, “This geezer is never going to give in’ so you have to just batter them and batter them and put them away.
‘But you think, “Mate, if this was a boxing match they would have stopped it ages ago”. But this geezer is still believing and you think ,”Wow, man!”
It may seem harsh to pick on Hawkins, who does have a win over O’Sullivan at the Crucible, but the Hawk’s overall head-to-head against the Rocket stands at 16-3 in the world champion’s favour.
Hawkins has admitted that belief is an issue for him, struggling to accept that he is one of the very best on the planet an can compete with anyone.
After reaching the Masters final earlier this year he said: ‘I’ve said it loads of times that I’ve lacked belief, and that’s probably what’s let me down over the years.
‘I’ve been trying to work on it and work on it the last few years. It’s not something that comes naturally to me, I’m not the most confident person out there, so I’ve been trying to work on it.
‘This week I’ve showed a bit more belief in myself. I’ve got to have that same mentality tomorrow if I’ve got any chance of winning.
‘Go out there, believe in myself, believe that I can win and just see what happens.’
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