The Masters, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world of snooker, is due to start this weekend. And this year, as is so often the case, all eyes are on the sport’s biggest star Ronnie O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan has already won the Masters a record seven times. William Hill has priced the 43-year old at 2/1 favourite to secure his eighth title.
“The Rocket” has had a complicated relationship with snooker and on multiple occasions has threatened to quite the sport.
However, it now seems that he is in a more positive frame of mind and keen to continue for as long as possible. After his win in the UK Championship last month he said, “I am not setting myself any limits. I will play as many tournaments as I think I can play, whether they are big or small. It’s just about playing and trying to enjoy it, because it’s a fantastic sport.”
O’Sullivan Finds Consistency
Though snooker players tend to peak at an early age, O’Sullivan has become more consistent as he matures. He won his first Masters title in 1995 but had to wait a decade for his second; now, in middle age, he is breaking records. He has emerged victorious from four of the last ten Masters tournaments and in winning the UK Championship last month took his tally of Triple Crown tournaments to 19, surpassing previous record holder Stephen Hendry.
Among the other favourites, Mark Selby is being offered at 6/1 and Judd Trump at 8/1.
Last year’s champion Mark Allen is fourth favourite at 10/1. However, the world number six says that he is “very, very confident” that he can mount a successful defence of his title. “I’ve a few tough matches ahead of me,” he said, “but I really fancy my chances – I’ve really enjoyed my time as Masters champion and don’t want to let it go.”