Ronnie O'Sullivan raised his game to its highest level to repel the challenge of Shaun Murphy in the Welsh Open semi-finals at Newport last night.

It was thrilling, at times awesome stuff and typical of what he's capable of.

However, it does not make him a certainty for the title.

There has been a lot of nonsense written about Ronnie down the years. Much of it has been spiteful towards him and motivated, I suspect, by envy.

But then there's the much stated myth: 'if Ronnie plays his best he can't lose.'

This simply isn't true. He played his best in the 2006 Masters final and lost to John Higgins. In Newport just last year he was on form but outplayed by Neil Robertson. There are many other examples from over the years.

The other pointless statement often trotted out about him is 'if O'Sullivan had (for example) Ebdon's temperament he'd never lose.'

So what? If Ebdon had Ronnie's talent then Peter would never lose.

Sport isn't about ifs and buts, it's about what happens on the field of play.

Therefore, Ronnie is right to be regarded as the most talented player of all time but he isn't the greatest.

The only test of greatness in sport is this: what you've won.

Stephen Hendry won seven world titles in the 1990s. O'Sullivan played in five of these championships and failed to reach the final once.

He has won at the Crucible twice. Most would agree it should have been more (and of course still could be) but you don't get your name on the trophy because of opinions, only by actually winning the thing.

Mark Selby is an interesting player in that he seems to genuinely enjoy every aspect of being a professional.

He reminds me - and I don't say this lightly - of Paul Hunter. Selby's always looking to entertain and is generous with his time off the table.

He's also, as we saw yesterday against Hendry, in excellent form and full of confidence after his Masters victory.

He's beaten O'Sullivan before, in the 2002 China Open. No doubt some would argue that this doesn't count as if Ronnie had played his best he would have won.

But sport doesn't work like this and, however the Rocket plays today, he knows he's got his work cut out.


Anonymous said...

no he can't . You all wana see ronnie get beat , but bad news for ja'all .

Anonymous said...

today when his little girl makes 2 years , Ronnie's gona win that rock trofee :d

Anonymous said...

I am completely with you, Dave. Funny to read people argueing that Ronnie can't lose. Winning the UK Championship last December was his first ranking title since the 2005 Irish Masters some 33 months ago - so there was a lot of losing in-between. I sure love to see Ronnie at his best, but even if he wins the Welsh Open tonight [it's 4-4 now], he is not invincible - and never will be.


andy said...

Hi Dave,

How your comments have rung true in hindsight. :o)

Congrats to Selby, an excellent win.


Anonymous said...

ye, whatever . Ronnie is the most loved player , the best and even if he lose a turnament or 2 or more , don't forget , he's Number 1 ( check the provizional )
PS : fk the other players and fk the critics

Markj said...

Wow, what a well thought out response.... you must be so proud...