Ronnie OSullivan has ended Stephen Hendry GOAT debate claims Mark Williams

Ronnie O'Sullivan explains why he made a 146 in 2016

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Mark Williams has claimed Ronnie O’Sullivan has all but ended the snooker GOAT debate. The Rocket defeated Judd Trump to clinch his seventh world championship last night, equalling the record set by Stephen Hendry in 1999.

Trump fought valiantly but ultimately succumbed to an 18-13 defeat at the hands of the world champion, who became the tournament’s oldest winner, breaking the record previously held by Ray Reardon who was 45 years and 203 days old back in 1978. Post match Trump gushed over his opponent, saying: “He will go down as the best player of all-time, he keeps getting better and better.

“His determination, dedication … you can see it out there. He was the best player throughout the tournament by quite far. I was happy to just make a match out of it this afternoon.” Mark Williams, who Trump defeated in an epic semi-final at the Crucible, was in agreement and is glad everyone else now shares the opinion he has held for years.

He said: “O’Sullivan is the best player in the world by a country mile. He’s so far in front of everyone – Trump, Selby, myself, Higgins – there’s no comparison, he’s the number one. He’s the greatest ever, and he didn’t even have to win seven world championships to be called the greatest. 

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“I’ve played him all my life and what he’s doing now, with the era of the players he’s in, he’s still going on at 46 and it’s not even a contest. There used to be a good argument between Hendry and O’Sullivan, but I don’t think there’s any argument now.” O’Sullivan was in supreme form all tournament long and drew level with Hendry for the most victories in the tournament’s history after winning four of six frames in the final session.

Trump had won six of the eight frames in the penultimate session on Monday to reduce O’Sullivan’s lead from 12-5 to 14-11. But the Essex potter stepped it up a gear in the evening to quell any hopes of the biggest final comeback since 1985. The 46-year-old’s seventh victory comes 21 years after his first and he plans to return to the Crucible next year and compete for a record eight championship.

“I tried to be as relaxed as I could, but that is probably the greatest result I’ve had against somebody like Judd [Trump],” O’Sullivan post-match. “I’ve never bothered about records. When you get them, it’s kind of nice. I don’t have targets. I’ve loved every tournament this year, I’ve just loved playing.

“I like to win, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. The Crucible brings out the worst in me. It’s probably not the best idea but we’ll probably go again next year.” There was a special moment between the two finalists as O’Sullivan went up to hug Trump.

The pair were pictured speaking for over a minute with O’Sullivan seen welling up during the embrace. And the snooker legend explained just how much Trump’s private words during their embrace meant to him. “I was so emotional. To finally get over the line, I just thought it would never happen,” he said on Eurosport. “I gave him a big hug and I was just sobbing in his arms. And he said such lovely words.

“What he said to me blew me away to be honest. It just blew me away. I love Judd. I love him, he’s a great lad, and I didn’t realise what he thought of me until then. Different respect there, you know. I didn’t realise how he sees me and how I’ve been part of his development. It’s great for snooker that we’ve got someone like Judd, playing the way he plays. There’s a couple more coming through [Zhao] Xintong, it’s going to be brilliant. That’s my best result ever I think.”

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