Snooker legend hopes Ronnie O'Sullivan doesn't win World Championship - 'I don't want him to'

Snooker legend hopes Ronnie O'Sullivan doesn't win World Championship - 'I don't want him to'

WATCH NOW: Ronnie O'Sullivan after winning an eighth Masters title

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 23/01/2024

- 21:05

The 48-year-old could lay claim to another record later this year

Snooker great Stephen Hendry has admitted he would rather Ronnie O'Sullivan not win the World Championship this year.

Hendry is currently tied with the Rocket on seven world titles and has jokingly revealed he doesn't want to lose their joint record.

Hendry dominated snooker in the 1990s, winning all seven of his World Championships in the final decade of the last century.

O'Sullivan didn't win his first until 2001 but has claimed a further six since, the latest being in 2022.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Stephen Hendry joked he doesn't want Ronnie O'Sullivan to break their joint record

The 48-year-old shows no signs of slowing down and has won the first two Triple Crown events of the season.

He backed up the UK Championship in December with his record-extending eighth Masters title earlier this month.

O'Sullivan also won the World Grand Prix on Sunday, beating world No 2 Judd Trump in a thrilling comeback in Leicester.

He will head to Sheffield in April with the hope of claiming an eighth World Championship.

But Hendry has called on other snooker stars to put up a better fight and help preserve the record he holds jointly with O'Sullivan.

The Scot told talkSPORT: "I said after [the World Grand Prix], where are all the other top players? Ronnie is basically dominating snooker now, running all over it.

"Where is the [Mark] Selby's, the [Neil] Robertson's, the [Mark] Williams'? Even Trump couldn't beat him.

"My question is who is going to stop him winning that eighth world title? To beat our record, I don't want him [to beat it]."

O'Sullivan hasn't lost since last November, with his winning run extending to 14 matches on Sunday.

Hendry has been left in awe of what he is achieving but is worried about the future of snooker, admitting there currently is no player who looks likely to take O'Sullivan's crown.

He added: "Of course [he's a genius]. It's phenomenal, we have to sort of applaud the longevity, it is incredible.

"I mean the snooker he played on the semi-final night was some of the best snooker I've ever seen. It's incredible what he's doing in the game, he's raising the game to a new level.


Stephen Hendry

Stephen Hendry is tied with Ronnie O'Sullivan on seven World Championship titles


"But it actually worries me a little bit if, in four or five years' time, he does stop playing, where are the players that are going to take over?

"We say 'Oh snooker will survive', but where will the next Ronnie O'Sullivan come from? We've got to enjoy it while it lasts."

Meanwhile, O'Sullivan believes Trump is the favourite heading to The Crucible in three months' time.

He told the WST: "Sheffield is a different animal and is three sessions. When you're playing different opponents, you can get geed up easier.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan has dominated snooker in recent months


"You put that match behind you and reset, but when you're facing the same opponent over three or four sessions, you don't really get that reset feeling.

"To win in Sheffield, usually apart from 2020 [when O’Sullivan beat Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the final], being steady gets the job done.

"If I can find a bit of steadiness, then I've got a chance.

"Judd is a warrior and for me he is favourite for Sheffield, but I have three months to try to get some consistency in my game. It will be nice to go there and enjoy it."

You may like