…BUT ROCKET RONNIE TAKES AIM AT NEXT GENERATION
SNOOKER legend Ronnie O’Sullivan has criticised the standard of play among young up-and-coming players, saying he would have to “lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50”.
In an extraordinary interview given after his victory over Ding Junhui, Ronnie said: “If you look at the younger players coming through, they are not that good really. Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, not even amateurs. They are so bad.”
He believes that is why players such as himself and Mark Williams – who both turned professional in 1992 – are still dominating the sport.
“That is why we are still hovering around, because of how poor it is down that end,” he said.
However, his comments have been criticised by former world champion Ken Doherty, who argued that the standard is “as high as ever”.
“It may be a bit tongue in cheek, but it is not nice,” he said.
“I think it is a bit derogatory [offensive]”.
Ronnie – who is nicknamed ‘The Rocket’ due to his fast playing style – is looking to win his sixth World Championship trophy in Sheffield this year. However, this tournament is unlike any he has been in before, with no spectators in the Crucible due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and he hasn’t been enjoying the unusual atmosphere.
“It is like playing in a morgue out there,” he said. “The players are much more relaxed; for the top players it can be a nightmare.”