Ronnie O'Sullivan makes stance clear on snooker version of 'Luke Littler' ahead of World Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan makes stance clear on snooker version of 'Luke Littler' ahead of World Championship

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Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 19/04/2024

- 14:24

The Rocket will be hoping to win the competition for the eighth time

Ronnie O'Sullivan has expressed a belief there will not be a version of darts prodigy Luke Littler in snooker.

The Rocket is currently preparing for this weekend's World Snooker Championship, with the 48-year-old hoping to win the prestigious prize after previously securing glory in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2020 and 2022.

Over in darts, Littler has taken the Premier League by storm.

Despite failing to win Night 12 on Thursday, the teenager remains second in the table - with Luke Humphries ahead of him.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan doesn't think there will be a version of Luke Littler in snooker


However, O'Sullivan can't see snooker having its own version of Littler - insisting it's difficult for young players to reach the top.

“Snooker is a different sport. There are a lot of in-between shots, a lot of touch-and-feel. Subtleties to the game," he told The Sun.

“I don’t think there will be a Luke Littler on the snooker circuit. Maybe from China as they have these academies now.

“Like 50-100 kids there, training day-in, day-out, getting good coaching. There could be some great young talent from China.

“But over in the UK, we don’t have academies anymore, we don’t have snooker clubs, we don’t have a grassroots system where they play in junior, amateur or Pro-Am events.

“That’s what me, John [Higgins] and Mark [Williams] did. We were always playing in competitions from the age of 10-11.

“I played Willie Thorne in Pro-Ams when I was 12 or 13. He might have beaten me but by 14, I had played enough top amateurs and pros that I eventually beat him.

“So, in my mind, I thought I had the game to compete with these guys. At the age of 14.

“I was learning that trade. But there aren’t those opportunities now in the UK.

“I used go to down to the snooker club. There were about 20-30 players who could make 147s and I’d learn off them.

“Kids these days, they might have a room where they practise on their own but they aren’t up close, watching the likes of John Higgins.”

One snooker star who has impressed, despite only being 25, is Jackson Page.

O'Sullivan will lock horns with Page in his opening match of the competition on Wednesday.

And the Rocket has nothing but positive things to say about his upcoming opponent.

“Jackson Page has benefited from Mark Williams. He has played with Mark, having come through as a junior," he said.


Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan is looking to win the World Snooker Championship for the eighth time


“He’d have learned a lot. From being around him and picking balls out. Mark has sharpened him up.

“I didn’t realise he was only about 22. He looks a lot older than that.

“When I was told his age, I was like: ‘There you go, that’s what happens when you have someone young around someone so good.’

“Jackson is still learning the job. He’s probably the only one with that background and those experiences mean he’ll hit the ground running a lot earlier.

“You look at people like Luca Brecel, a great talent, amazing, but look how long it took him to hit the ground.

Jackson Page

Ronnie O'Sullivan is due to face Jackson Page in the first round of the World Snooker Championship


“Until the age of 26-27-28. Maybe 10 years of getting beaten and beaten. But because he’s so talented, he has obviously got there in the end.

“Jackson Page has got to that point a little bit earlier. He was probably a little bit raw when he first turned pro, like we all are.

“Well, apart from John Higgins who was a different style of player. But we have all had to rein it in.

“Me, I had probably had to rein it in more than Mark and John because I was really ultra-aggressive.

“But Jackson Page has learned. Now he’s looking like the complete player. I think he’s ready to win tournaments.”

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