Ronnie O’Sullivan’s dramatic capture of the German Masters title last night proved that when he is fully motivated he is still a major force in the game.
O’Sullivan defeated Stephen Maguire 9-7 in a high quality final. He had of course trailed Andrew Higginson 4-0 in the opening round.
This was a familiar tale of the reprieved man syndrome. Time and again a player who could and probably should have lost early in a tournament goes on to win it.
The most pleasing factor about the final, regardless of the eventual outcome, was how hard O’Sullivan fought. He had to. Maguire himself played tough match snooker and couldn’t have tried any more.
There were some telltale signs of how much it meant to O’Sullivan, a few fist pumps here and there which is not really his thing.
Don’t ever be fooled that it doesn’t matter to him. Of course it does. You don’t win as much as he has without being a competitive animal.
He said afterwards that he was coming towards the end of his career. As he is 36 this is in part true but it is equally true that he isn’t finished just yet.
Ronnie will always attract attention for what he says: sometimes entertaining, sometimes maddening.
But ultimately snooker players should be judged not by their words but by their actions, by the way they play and what they contribute to the sport on table. It was clear from the reception he received after the final that O’Sullivan remains a huge box office attraction.
Despite winning the title, O’Sullivan’s top 16 seeding for the World Championship is not yet guaranteed, with the forthcoming Welsh Open still to play a part.
However, when O’Sullivan is remembered it won’t be for fluctuations in his world ranking but for his incredible store of achievements.
Last night’s clearly satisfied him greatly, as it should. He worked for it, he fought for it and he finally got his reward.