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Ronnie O’Sullivan became the oldest player to win a World Snooker Championship at the age of 46, but Jimmy White believes the ‘Rocket’ is capable of victory in three more before his career ends. O’Sullivan had his first opportunity to draw level with Stephen Hendry’s record tally of seven World Championships after beating John Higgins to reach the final showdown.
Judd Trump had beaten Mark Williams in a close semi-final match to face off against O’Sullivan. But the 32-year-old got off to a poor start on Sunday with O’Sullivan taking full advantage of several mistakes from the former world No 1.
Trump did rally back in Monday’s afternoon session to cut O’Sullivan’s lead to 14-11, but the 46-year-old held his nerve to clinch a record-equalling world title in the evening. Emotions were running high as the snooker icon failed to hold back the tears before being presented with the trophy.
His seventh world title comes 21 years after his first, where he beat Higgins in the final. He now shares the record with Hendry for most world titles and no player has reached a semi-final or better more times than O’Sullivan’s 13.
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Hendry still holds the record for most World Championship finals played with nine, but O’Sullivan isn’t too far behind now. Despite becoming the oldest world snooker champion, O’Sullivan is not expected to end his career any time soon.
And White, who has six runner-up finishes at the Crucible, still believes O’Sullivan can cement his place in history with an incredible 10 world titles.
“I think most snooker players would agree that he is the greatest player ever,” he said on Eurosport. Stephen Hendry would probably say that himself but until he equalled Stephen Hendry’s record just to confirm it.
“I did say three or four years ago that if he applies himself and practices properly he can win 10 and who’s to say he won’t.”
Speaking back in December, O’Sullivan admitted that he wants to add “three more world titles” before ending his career. But he also hinted that he would end his career before turning 50 if his form starts to dip.
“I will stink places out for another three years, I want three more world titles and I have earned the right to smell a few places out,” O’Sullivan said. “Then if it doesn’t get any better it’s time to hang the cue up. I still love the game but you can’t play like that, I can’t anyway.
“It is showing in my results, I used to win a lot of tournaments but now get caught out in semis, quarters, finals, and there is a reason for that. I’m not as good as I was, but I accept that, I am not one of these deluded people, I am quite realistic and there is only so much juice to squeeze out of the lemon.”
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