Ronnie O’Sullivan is not backing down with his comments on the younger generation of snooker players.
With brutal honesty, Ronnie O’Sullivan made headlines at last month’s World Championship when he criticised the standard of the young players breaking through.
O’Sullivan insists that his criticism was meant to inspire rather than degrade although he wasn’t about to row back on his comments.
“They’re not good enough…whatever I said. I think it’s okay to say stuff like that, I wasn’t slagging anyone off,” O’Sullivan said on The Blank podcast.
“In fact, I was hoping that in some ways it would inspire a lot of the younger generation to kind of go ‘you know what I’m going to prove him wrong’. Because that’s all I’ve done all my life when I was a kid growing up, I’d get knocks and every time I got a knock that just made me more and more determined to what to become better and a better player so for me a knock was fantastic.
“So yeah, I’m knocking them, but I’m also hoping that it gives them a nudge to go you know what I’m going to go and watch a Tiger Woods documentary, I’m going to go and watch a Michael Jordan documentary and see what it takes to be the best and then once I’ve studied them I’m going to take that into my world and I’m going to become the next snooker player I can possibly be. And that’s what I’m saying.”
O’Sullivan, who is no stranger to controversy, did name-check two young players on the circuit who he believes have bright futures ahead of them.
But the 44-year-old made it very clear that he believes that prospects worth getting excited about are few and far between.
O’Sullivan continued: “Every player on this tour is capable of beating anyone on their day but it’s not good enough to just have a good day, you’ve got to have good months, good years, good decades.
“We’re not talking about being good enough on the day, we’re talking about having a good career really and days aren’t enough. You have to have good months and years to hang around long enough and that’s what I’m hoping by saying what I said in a way is going to give these youngsters a kick up the arse.
“There are a couple on the circuit; Kyren Wilson is definitely one of them and another guy is Louis Heathcote, I spot that they have what it takes to hang around and get the most out of their career. I just wish there was more players like me, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Steven Maguire, Barry Hawkins, that generation of players, I just wish there was an influx of those players coming in but I just don’t see it.”