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.


Anonymous said...

genius is a silly word to use about someone who is just quite clearly very very talented

Claus Christensen said...

Like Newton had a 'talent' for science? No, Ronnie is a genius. You can of course substitute that with talent if you like..

jamie said...

Genius is a not a silly word as one off talent generally are geniuses look at Roger Federer and Adam Gilchrist. Dave is right there is not enough time to match Hendry. However if he gets to 5 world titles, he is a greater player than Davis. As greatness is not just about titles, you have to look at the standard of play he can produce, plus the entertainment factor. At his best there has been non one better apart from maybe Hendry in his nineties pomp.Also its no suprise what Taylor said, he says nothing negatine very often and throws around superlatives wily nily. I mean he uses the word great about players who have not even won an event.

Anonymous said...

Sorry sh but Ronnie may not beat your records but he is the most naturally gifted player to ever pick up a cue, so natural that I think he will be winning titles in his 40s.

kimball said...

If you start playing as late as Hendry did (13)and competely takes
over the game at 20, brings it to a
new level of attackingstyle and becomes the master of effectivness,
then you are a one off as much as
or more than O'Sullivan.
Who knows how Jimmy White would have developed with the right manager and lifestyle?
But it,s not easy of course, if you
have Alex Higgins to look uo to.

Anonymous said...

I would think Dennis Taylor would say anything positive relating to the programme he is actually on.
Its all good for him without ever having to resort to saying anything remotely heartfelt or thought provoking.
Ronnie wont win 7 world crowns and Stephen Hendry wont win an 8th title.
Both have been predictions by DT in recent years.
Added to that, everyone is a nice guy and all players get on well and all audiences are "knowledgeable".
Isn't it a wonderful world.....?

bongo said...

A very interesting interview from the rocket.....

Anonymous said...

naturally gifted is another silly saying

Anonymous said...

Yeah but Dennis is infinitely preferable to Willie Thorne who waffles on and on and on..............

Anonymous said...

Ronnie O'Sullivan will not break Stephen Hendry's record and it is unlikely that anyone ever will.
Jamie I'm sorry but gretness is all about titles.Like Dave said on this blog a few months ago"ultimately there is only one true test of greatness in sport,what have you won?".Hendry is the greatest player of all time.He is also a genius but unlike Ronnie he is so much more then that.Like federer,woods and warne he is the perfect sportsman combining all the elements needed to achieve true greatness.He is underrated by the general public because he is not as "intresting" as O'Sullivan,White or (Alex)Higgins,ie,he is a simple down to earth family man who does not make a fool of himself.But he is far better then all of these.He is simply the best.
By the way,message for Dennis Taylor:you can't please everyone.Stop trying.

jamie said...

It is the most important yardstick when assessing greatness but the not the only measure. At the end of the day you have too look at the context of success. Joe Davis won 15 titles, but no one would say hes the greatest as he sometimes only won 1 match to take the crown.Having said that Ronnie would need to equal Hendry before I would consider him greater than Hendry who is my favourite player. He is not a genius though, the one thing that Taylor said that I agreed on is he is the only snooker player I would call a genius. Hendry was a fantastic player, but did without the flair and artistry that makes O'Sullivan a one off. No one strikes the cue ball and makes the sort of outrageous breaks that O'Sullivan can.

Anonymous said...

Jamie,I'm sorry but I have to disagree again.Just because Stephen is not conterversial and does not show much emotion at the table that does not mean he plays the game without flair.There have been times when he has been as aggresive as anybody who has ever played the game.He invented the free flowing aggressive type of snooker that we see so often today.Just go to youtube and watch his 1987 wc quarter final against Joe Johnsen.I stand by my earlier comment that he is a genius.I agree that Ronnie is great to watch but I for me watching Hendry compile a century is still the greatest sight in snooker.I can see your point about Joe Davis but for me in the modern era it's all about winning
Again,sorry to have to disagree this is only my opinion and you are entitled to yours.

Anonymous said...

Maximum Breaks show how good you are.

And Ronnie has more than Hendry!

Conclusion= Ronnie is a genius.

Anonymous said...

Maximum Breaks show how good you are.

And Ronnie has more than Hendry!

Conclusion= Ronnie is a genius.

Can I carry that on to its logical conclusion:
Stuart Bingham and Nick Dyson are both better than Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy, John Parrott.

I am just as good as Terry Griffiths, Mark Allen, Neal Foulds...

Stephen Hendry is the greatest; the records books confirm that. But there is room for a 'greatest' and a 'best' and they do not have to be the same person!

Ollie said...

I like Dennis Taylor but he is among the worst for commentary-box clichés. In addition to those mentioned above, think how many times you've heard him say "I promise you one thing: we're going to be seeing a lot more of this young man" about some non-entity who happens to beat the world number 14 or whatever, and then promptly loses in the next round and is never heard of again.

Also he's still referring to people like Stephen Hendry and Alan McManus as "young man".

jamie said...

hendry does things that other players do but better. While the rocket produces snooker that no one else can, take his 1997 147 at the crucible thats what geniuses do. Hendry is very exciting and has provided the template for the modern game, like I say he is the greatest but it is fascinating to see if Ronnie gets close to usurping him.

Anonymous said...

hendry has the class of a winner. Ron has talent but not anywhere near as much class. hendry is a model professional

Anonymous said...

There is far too much Hendry v O'Sullivan debate on the internet. Unfortunately there won't be an end to it because both parties will swear blind they are right about who was better.

But O'Sullivan is as bona fide genius as you can get, he's a classic odd ball and he is utterly ridculously good at snooker. He has "the gift" for life so as long as he stays fit and loves the game I can see him winning tournaments at 60. No other player before him has that been the case.

Anonymous said...


Regardless of the discussion who the greatest or most naturally gifted player of all time is I would like to point out that at the start of his career Hendry played differently than the Hendry we all know winning titles.

Check out Youtube for his quarter-final match in the 1987 WC against Joe Johnson and then tell me that isn't entertaining.

Granted, what Ronnie sometimes produces is outrageous by any and all standards, yet what Hendry produced was a standard never seen before.

I dare say, as someone commented previously, that Hendry did indeed take the game to a completely new level. Opening the reds as sson as he saw an opportunity, ton after ton after ton, match after match. THAT's what makes/made him such a force.

Possibly Ronnie would have come up with all this (and let's be honest...he's one of the, if not THE best at opening the reds) as well...but Hendry paved the way. In this respect he's like Jimmy Hendrix for guitar players (strange metaphor but hehehe).

Anyways, just my 2 cents on a very controversial topic.


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