Ronnie O’Sullivan is the current world champion and world number one. Widely recognised as one of the most talented and accomplished players in the history of the sport, he has won the World Snooker Championship seven times, a modern-era record he holds jointly with Stephen Hendry. He has also won a record seven Masters and record seven UK Championship titles for a total of 21 Triple Crown titles, the most won by any player.
He holds the record for the most ranking titles in professional snooker, with 39, and has ranked the world number one on multiple occasions.
Ronnie O’Sullivan clinched a record-equalling seventh title in early May, as he held his nerve to see off Judd Trump 18-13 in the World Snooker Championship final. A dominant display had made it look as if all O’Sullivan had to do was turn up on the second day to win at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, as he led 12-5.
In the final session, the Rocket dominated the table again, winning the world title at the age of 46 to become the oldest champion in the season-ending tournament.
“That’s probably the greatest result I’ve ever had,” O’Sullivan told the World Snooker Tour website after clinching his 39th ranking title. “As far as I’m concerned, Judd is already an all-time great. The way he plays the game, he plays such dynamic snooker.”
O’Sullivan took his first world title in 2001 by beating John Higgins in the final. After more than two decades, these two great players are still in their top forms as they met in the semifinals at the Crucible Theatre this year, with O’Sullivan outplaying his long-time rival 17-11.
It was arguably the one record missing for O’Sullivan. He had rewritten most of the record books, but the only one still to conquer was the magical seventh world crown.
The 46-year-old has often made public his love/hate relationship with the sport, but those past two weeks have highlighted the warmer feelings. His emotional reaction to winning showed how much matching Hendry meant to him.
He had wobbled in the afternoon, arguably fortunate only to lose the session 6-2 and still have a lead of three frames over Trump.
His seven titles have been spread over 21 years, while Hendry’s came thick and fast between 1990 and 1999. O’Sullivan’s legacy has lasted three decades. Steve Davis, the six-time champion, believes prevailing in an era with players of the ilk of John Higgins, Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Trump makes his achievement that bit greater.
“He is playing in a field of players that is far stronger than in previous generations,” Davis said. “For him to win seven world titles with so many great players around him may have needed longer for it to happen. But the longevity that he has shown has been incredible.”