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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 14:29 GMT
Where does Ronnie rank?
By Saj Chowdhury

A shellshocked John Higgins said Ronnie O'Sullivan had played snooker "not seen in the game before" after losing 10-3 to 'the Rocket' in the final of the Masters on Sunday.

But just where does O'Sullivan rank in the list of the all-time greats of the game?

We asked Ray Reardon, six-time world champion and O'Sullivan's mentor over the last year, for his assessment:


Ronnie O'Sullivan
Turned pro: 1992
Ranking wins: 15
World titles: 2
Career prize money: 4,238,510
Maximum breaks: 6

The words "snooker" and "genius" might not normally go together, but they're very apt when you're talking about Ronnie.

He's got such natural talent, and his touch and feel for the game is exceptional.

I do think Ronnie's got greater ability than Alex Higgins and Jimmy White had in their prime.

Ronnie puts players under intense pressure. It's not just his aura and presence round the table that can unsettle opponents - his attacking and defensive games are better than most others'.

He makes the game look simple and has taken snooker to another level.


Stephen Hendry
Turned pro: 1985
Ranking wins: 35
World titles: 7
Career prize money: 7,842,285
Maximum breaks: 8

Stephen had - and still has - a wonderful temperament. He is also a superb potter - seven world titles speaks for themself.

At his best, he can make the ball talk and control it. He makes the white ball do exactly what he wants it to do.

What impressed me about Stephen during the 1990s was that he had this great ability to overcome his nerves, instead of letting the nerves take over him.

I think he's the best player I've ever seen at handling the pressure.

And Stephen is still Ronnie's biggest threat for the world title.


Steve Davis
Turned pro: 1978
Ranking wins: 28
World titles: 6
Career prize money: 5,226,600
Maximum breaks: 1

A fantastic tactician.

Steve was a solid potter and would drive you right into the ground. And once he had you down he would keep you down.

I think that was part of the enjoyment of watching him, but it certainly wasn't as enjoyable playing him.

The Nugget's been up among the top players for a long time - about 25 years - and he's still in the top 16.

I'm not surprised he's still up there. He still has a hunger and wants to win.


Ray Reardon
Turned pro: 1967
Ranking wins: not applicable
World titles: 6
Career prize money: not available
Maximum breaks: -

I turned professional in 1967, although I didn't really intend to.

I gave myself three years to be world champion and I achieved my goal in 1970.

There were some very long matches in my day, but I had the stamina to win every title that was available to me - I was the best by far.

I never played anybody I thought I couldn't beat during the 1970s.

I won matches in every conceivable way possible - the play wasn't fast then, but I was tactically better than most and carried no fear of others.

Ronnie is the only player that would have caused me some concern - thankfully, he wasn't around then.


As far as I'm concerned, Ronnie's the best I've seen - and it's not because I've got a close relationship with him.

Stephen, Steve and myself dominated our respective eras, but at his best Ronnie would have wiped the floor with all of us.

If opponents give Ronnie just one sniff at the table, then more often than not, he will clear up. There's been nobody in the game who's as devastating.

Highlights: Watch Ronnie O'Sullivan win the Masters

Awesome O'Sullivan wins Masters
20 Feb 05 |  Snooker
'Magic' Ronnie wows Reardon
02 May 04 |  Snooker
1978: Reardon makes it six
07 Apr 04 |  Snooker
Reardon hails Stevens win
01 Dec 03 |  Snooker

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