Ronnie O’Sullivan doubles down on comments about younger snooker players

“A lot of the players came up to me and said, ‘You’re 100% right’.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan has doubled down on his controversial comments about younger snooker players.

At the World Championship earlier this month, he made headlines on and off the table.

O’Sullivan stormed to a sixth world title with a series of brilliant performances. He also criticised the standard of play in the sport.

The world champion said that many of the snooker players on the tour are so bad, that he would ‘have to lose an arm or a leg’ to drop down the rankings.

 

“It’s an old man’s game now”

O’Sullivan has had some time to reflect on his comments, which did not go down well with many within the sport.

Yet, the 44-year-old stands by what he said. He believes that older players like him are still winning in the sport because the younger snooker players are not good enough to challenge them.

“I’m getting worse and I’m still winning as a part-timer. It’s an old man’s game now,” O’Sullivans said in an interview with the Guardian.

“As I get to 60 I’m going to be in my prime! When I was 28 I thought: ‘I’m going to retire at 30.’

“The shelf life used to be about 15 years, now it’s about 50. I’m not sure it’s a good thing though. It’s more depression and anxiety for me.”

“A lot of the players came up to me and said, ‘You’re 100% right’.”

Relationship with snooker

O’Sullivan’s comment about ‘more depression and anxiety’ for him appears to relate to his complicated relationship with snooker. The Englishman is the game’s greatest player. He is the most naturally talented and successful snooker player to ever play the sport.

Yet, O’Sullivan has stated many times that he regularly falls out of love with the sport. He picks and chooses the tournaments he wants to play in, prefers running and often gets more enjoyment from it than playing snooker.

O’Sullivan also said that he was happier playing in an empty Crucible Theatre, without the pressure a live crowd brings.

If the younger generation of players are not going to dethrone him, it means O’Sullivan will continue to operate at the top of the sport, which brings more of the ‘anxiety’ he speaks about.

Yet, the sport would be significantly diminished without his presence. And, ultimately, it is up to the younger players to prove him wrong.

O’Sullivan needs to win one more World Championship to match Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles.

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