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Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 00:55 GMT 01:55 UK
Is O'Sullivan the best ever?

Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the Embassy World Snooker Championship and is acclaimed as the most natural player ever to pick up a cue.

But is he the greatest ever, or does he still have to achieve more to prove his greatness?


Ronnie O'Sullivan claimed his first Embassy World Snooker Championship with an 18-14 final victory over John Higgins.

Many observers think O'Sullivan's win was inevitable as he is widely acclaimed as the most naturally talented player ever to grace the Crucible Theatre.

But just how good is he?

He may have natural ability, but does he have the temperament to rank alongside the best?

O'Sullivan is able to produce sublime spells, but he is also very capable of falling at the first hurdle as he did last year.

And the Rocket has a long a way to go before he dominates the game as completely as Stephen Hendry (seven world titles) or Steve Davis (six world titles).

So how good is Ronnie?

Tell us what you think.


Ronnie is an absolute genius, he is definitly the most naturally talented snooker player, constructing a 147 in just over five minutes says it all. He now needs to become world no. one and the first person ever to retain the world title after their first win to prove his greatness. He has the ability to dominate snooker but so does John Higgins.
Mart, UK

You've got to be kidding, he is so inconsistent - world champ today and I could beat him tomorrow. Look no further than Hendry.
Lewis B, UK

Ronnie didn't even need one world championship to prove he's the best. His snooker flows naturally - the man's an artist - watching a few frames from him is worth ten times more than the mechanical talents of the likes of Hendry and co.
Mike, England

Hendry in his prime would have wiped the floor with him
  Jamie, UK
"The best ever" means nothing. Ronnie is thrilling to watch like all of the real great sportsmen such as Ali, Pele, Best, Borg, McEnroe and Botham. People like Hendry and Steve Davis, while hugely impressive technically, all look mechanical in comparison to the natural flair of someone like O'Sullivan (or Alex Higgins or Jimmy White). That's why they are so popular and that's why they become legends. It might be a subjective view, but it is true nevertheless.
Dave Chamberlain, UK

Ronnie O'Sullivan is the most naturaly talented player ever in the game of snooker. Anyone who can complete a 147 in just over five minutes has to be great and now his excellent performance at the Crucible and throughout the snooker season has confirmed this.
Richard, UK

Stephen Hendry and Steve Dave are the best of the modern era. Who can forget the likes of Reardon, Pulman, Fred Davis or Joe Davis? I am a big Ronnie fan, but I wouldn't even put him in my top ten. 1) Stephen Hendry 2) Steve Davis 3) Joe Davis 4) Ray Readon 5) John Pulman 6) Fred Davis 7) Alex Higgins 8) Cliff Thorburn 9) John Higgins 10) John Spencer. Ronnie still has it all to prove and will need the second title or at least to be the world number one.
Fintan, Netherlands

I would just say he is the most gifted natural talent I have ever seen in sport in recent times.
Ian Welch, United Kingdom

How can you say O'Sullivan is the greatest ever? He has won a fraction of the titles Hendry has. Hendry in his prime would have wiped the floor with him. He has a long way to go before he can claim to be half the man Hendry is.
Jamie, UK

If greatness were based on ability alone, O'Sullivan would be untouchable
  Rob Docherty, England
If we are talking about natural talent, then surely there is no contest. How many players have we seen that can switch to play left handed to complete a clearance without faltering? OK, Steve Davis and then Stephen Hendry have achieved greater sustained success, which proves a lot but it doesn't mean they are more naturally talented. Ronnie doesn't seem to be working hard to achieve it. That effortless brilliance is what we are talking about. If he really wants it, and keeps his current frame of mind he can go on and on! What odds can you get on him being the first to retain his first World Title? Get some money on it!!
Rob, UK

I don't know if he is the best but when he plays you feel an instant sympathy for the man. When you see him playing, you simply can't leave the screen because you just might miss the shot of the match. It is not just his snooker but also his personality that makes him one of the best.
Koen Goossens, Belgium

The best? Don't be silly. Ronnie may have bags of natural talent, but he doesn't have the consistency to emulate the feats of Hendry or Davis. Frankly, he had a lucky draw, and faced a championship where the best players were not quite on top form. Enjoy your year, Ronnie - I doubt you'll win again! By the way, Alex Higgins and Jimmy White were both more exciting to watch.
Steve, France

Stephen Hendry dominated the early '90's. Can Ronnie the Rocket go on to do the same in the present era?
How would O'Sullivan have coped with Hendry in his early '90's prime?
If greatness were based on ability alone, O'Sullivan would be untouchable. He plays the most difficult of shots with ease and has masterful control of the cueball. The two things which have let him down in the past (which he managed to control to win at the Crucible) are his safety play and his temperament. If he manages to master these then his ascendency to become one of snooker's true greats can begin in earnest.

The media can say what they like but players like Ronnie come along once in a lifetime. I wouldn't count myself as a huge snooker fan but it has been pure pleasure watching him play.
Rob Docherty, England

After winning the title for the first time I think it's premature to say he is the best ever. I think Jimmy White's comments on the subject (that the game needed Ronnie to win) are correct. The game needs flamboyant, attacking, risky players, and since Jimmy White has gone off the boil, who else apart from Ronnie has the natural talent, flair and personality on the table?
Mark, Scotland

Ronnie is definitely the biggest snooker talent on the planet
  Richard, Holland
O'Sullivan is certainly not the best ever and whoever suggested this obviously does not know snooker. He is some way down a list which includes, Alex Higgans, Steve Davis, Joe Davis and Stephen Hendry and possibly Jimmy White. Until he can command the game on a consistant level he will just be another world champion.
Brian Reid, Scotland

Ronnie is definitely the biggest snooker talent on the planet. But he is not the greatest player ever; that's Stephen Hendry for sure. To rate as the greatest player ever you have to possess the following qualities: talent; mental strength; consistency.

The first he has plenty of, the second not always. He has not shown that he is a mentally tough player over the years. This year he showed more of it in the Embassy, but not over the years. As for the third, he hasn't been consistent in his performance. Stephen Hendry (and Steve Davis) have all three of them. So that's why Ronnie cannot name himself the greatest player ever. He has to do much more for that.
Richard, Holland

Ronnie is probably the best ever natural talent seen in the game, but there are a number of players who rank above him in the 'best the game has ever seen' category, such as Stephen Henry, Steve Davis, Joe Davis.
Johnny Sutherland, England

Ronnie used to be inconsistent, but now I believe that he has matured and wants to win the big trophies. You only had to watch this tournament to see that while playing quite well he destroyed everyone. I believe that if he wants it, there is plenty more in the O'Sullivan tank!! If he doesn't go on to be one of the greats there is only one person to blame.
Greg Hughes, UK

I would like to say, he's the best - next to Jimmy White. But I believe Stephen Hendry has produced even better plays in some finals combining long shots, middle pockets, attack and defence. What about this? Jimmy White the ultimate attacking player and entertainer of all time. Stephen the best all-rounder. And Ronnie? Naturally gifted as he is, he is on his way to combine the best of both worlds.
Rudolph Jansen, UK

When Ronnie has won seven World Championships then it'll be right to call him the world's greatest player
  Bill, UK
Ronnie O'Sullivan is perhaps the genius of snooker who will, indeed, fulfil his talent. He's waited seven years for this, which will have built his hunger, desire and taught him lifes lessons the best way: by experiencing both highs and lows. In my judgment, he can dominate snooker in the way that Tiger Woods is dominating golf, if that is what he wants to do.

But he will only do it if the human words he spoke of after victory remain inside his heart, and he recognises the absolutely vital role that the support of his family and friends has been in sustaining him through the hard times.

Good luck to you Ronnie. You've provided a lot of pleasure to a lot of people and long may it continue.
Rhys Jaggar, England

It is an excellent boost for Ronnie's game now that he has clinched this title. For someone who has admitted considering quitting the sport, this will be the start of some great snooker for him. He is the best natural potter in the game and its only a matter of time before the reign of Ronnie rolls on and on.
Tim Mac-Nicol, UK

Because he is fast doesn't mean he is the best ever. I am a Ronnie O'Sullivan fan, but he definitely has a long way to go before he can be considered the best. Another three or four World Championships under his belt would be a good start.
Iffan Sorhead, Ireland

When Ronnie has won seven World Championships then it'll be right to call him the world's greatest player. Until then it's rather unfair on Stephen Hendry who enjoyed ten years of previously unparallelled success at top level. Having said that, Ronnie has the potential to do the same and is most certainly the most exciting player snooker has ever seen. I think with this win behind him, Ronnie might find himself freed from the expectations he's previously had to try and live up to and go on to win a lot more. Perhaps in ten years time we'll be able to say he truly is the world's greatest player but at the moment it's a little premature.
Bill, UK

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