I found Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Inside Sport interview last night fascinating but was surprised to hear Dennis Taylor say he thought Ronnie could equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles.
In 16 years as a professional, O’Sullivan has won three world titles. Make no mistake, this is an impressive tally but it seems unlikely anyone will win the Crucible crown beyond the age of 40, which doesn’t leave Ronnie much time.
Furthermore, he actually said himself that it is unlikely because he doesn’t have the ‘drive’ to do so.
This is what people seem to ignore when debating who is the greatest or who would have done what had they been born at a different time.
It’s not all about talent. We all know how talented all the top players are. Ultimately, it comes down to temperament.
Ronnie said he does not have the temperament of Stephen Hendry and is therefore unlikely to be driven to try and win as much as he has.
This does not diminish his own achievements. The fact is, we are all made differently and motivated differently.
Ranking Ronnie in the all time list is a pointless exercise because the man is a complete one-off.
When those of us lucky enough to have seen him play remember him we shan’t do so by reeling off titles but by recalling great moments of inspirational play – his 147 in five minutes, 20 seconds an obvious example.
Hendry and Steve Davis stand out as the two all time greats because of their extraordinary periods of success.
O’Sullivan will be remembered for his genius and all that it entails.