Monday, 7 May 2012

Ronnie O'Sullivan: Champion of the world

Ronnie O'Sullivan is a snooker odyssey.

Picture by Monique Limbos
He is one of the finest players ever to pick up a cue and now has four world titles to go alongside his exceptional talent.

The Rocket has had three previous World Championship triumphs and bundles of fantastic moments in the game, but this could arguably be his finest.

This Crucible win was about more than beating Ali Carter 18-11 in the final. It was a statement of his greatness.

O'Sullivan was exceptional from start to finish in Sheffield this year. We kept asking whether anyone could beat him but realistically no-one was ever going to.

He let players get close to him at times but always had an extra gear and kept stepping up the pace when it mattered most.

Ronnie has never had any trouble dazzling under the spotlight. He made time for that year this year, of course, but it was his superb all-round game that propelled him to global domination this time round.

He's never played more controlled snooker than this on the biggest stage.

As well as the big breaks, box office clearances and thunderous shots, there were big bouts of superb safety, a temperament of steel and a never-say-die attitude. A lot of credit for this must go down to Dr Steve Peters. He has helped a fragile character to begin enjoying snooker again and control his fluctuating emotions.

O'Sullivan will always win plaudits when he's on song. When he's playing well, there is no-one better in the game. He struts round the table with a unique aura and plays shots that are simply mesmerising.

But he's done that before at the Crucible and not finished king of the world. This tournament was won by his patience. Never has the Rocket played with greater purpose. Fighting through the endurance test that is the World Championship has always been the biggest ask of O'Sullivan but his physical and mental endurance were top class this year to survive the 17 days.

He's had his doubters but here he showed why people regard him as the greatest. Ronnie will always strive for perfection and said after this tournament that "he played alright in patches". While this is a modest modest assessment, watching from a distance it's clear he played with superb fluency and attracts people who are otherwise uninterested in the game.

He has rarely been beaten when anywhere near his best and takes far more satisfaction from happiness than performance. He's ticked both boxes this year.

Ali Carter played his part in another excellent World Championship. He scrapped like a warrior to make it this far and gave Ronnie a far greater contest than many others may have.

In the end though, this was the Ronnie O'Sullivan show.

It was written in the stars he would rule the Crucible this year and nothing was ever likely to stop him. He's had his critics but tonight is a time to simply praise his genius.

Will he retire? We don't know yet. But for now, it's a time to admire one of the game's greatest players in full flow.

Ronnie O'Sullivan, I salute you!


  1. A really nice well written artical on Ronnie. I am a couple of years older than Ronnie so I grew up with. Alex Higgins,White & O'Sullivan. After all the dissapointments with Jimmy at the world's I put all my heart into Ronnie winning this event, it took him 9 years to first capture it but I feel he let too many chances slip before and after that. This 4th title was some kind of sweet justice because of recent form and achievements. I knew that after the first win over Ebdon this was his best chance since 2008 I lived every moment on edge as he battled some very tough opponents on winning his World title. But due to this I think this only underlines the man himself, hopefully we will have some more years left to admire someone who brings an undescribable joy to the game of snooker. Thanks Ronnie for a Great 2012 World Championship.

  2. Really good article and really good previous comment!