For the first time since 2010, snooker’s rankings system agrees with public opinion: Ronnie O’Sullivan is officially the best player in the world. His return to the number one position came after a victory over Neil Robertson in the Tour Championship in Llandudno this weekend.
Avoiding false modesty, O’Sullivan pointed out that not only had he regained top ranking, he’d done it by competing in fewer events than most other players. “To get to number one probably playing half the events some other guys do is probably one of the best achievements across sports,” he said.
Already considered by many to be the most talented snooker ever to wield a cue, with his latest win O’Sullivan takes his ranking title count to 36, matching Stephen Hendry’s record. However, there is one accolade he has never received: BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.
Long Overdue Recognition?
According to William Hill, this may be the year that O’Sullivan finally gets the recognition he has long deserved. He is currently 8/1 favourite for the award, with Anthony Joshua, Lewis Hamilton and Dina Asher-Smith all at 10/1.
Sports Personality of the Year has only been won by a single snooker player, Steve Davis, in 1988. However, O’Sullivan is not simply a very good player. He is one of the most extraordinary figures in all of sport.
“The Rocket” has won five World Championships and holds records for the number of Masters titles (seven), UK Championships (seven) and Triple Crown titles (nineteen). Not only is he a serial winner, he is loved by fans for his exciting play and extraordinary talent: he is the only player to have hit the milestone of 1,000 century breaks, and holds the records for both the greatest number of maximum breaks, and the fastest one.
However, O’Sullivan’s position at the top may be short lived. Mark Selby has the chance to leapfrog back into the number 1 slot at the China Open this weekend, a tournament that O’Sullivan has decided to skip.