Ronnie O'Sullivan clashes with Mark Allen during tense game
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Ronnie O’Sullivan was not at his best on Thursday as he was beaten comfortably by John Higgins. Higgins turned in a superb performance to demolish O’Sullivan 6-1 in the quarter-finals of the Champion of Champions in Bolton, making breaks of 127, 94, 92, 86 and 63 along the way. The Rocket was frank about the encounter, admitting his opponent was simply better. He told ITV: “Yeah too good tonight, he was too good and I didn’t do enough when I had chances.
“In Milton Keynes [at the English Open] I was cueing alright so I could withstand a barrage like that and probably come back with something more, but I was just missing so many balls that the combination of the two, there was only going to be one result.
“John’s played like that a few times against me, he seems to play good stuff against me, I know I need to be at my best to compete with him and have a chance of winning and I wasn’t tonight.”
O’Sullivan isn’t just blunt when discussing snooker, he has also taken a swipe at Formula 1 and world champion Lewis Hamilton on a number of occasions.
Ahead of Sports Personality of the Year 2020, the snooker star was asked who he would vote for.
He told the Daily Mail: “You’d probably have to say Lewis Hamilton for breaking the record. I’d say between him and Tyson. It depends what the award is for, because sometimes the message gets lost.
“Is it for sporting brilliance? Is it for personality? Is it for your achievements within your sport? Nobody really knows.”
However, O’Sullivan went on to criticise Formula 1, lamenting the lack of competition for Hamilton, who has won seven world titles.
He continued: “It’s amazing to do what Hamilton has done but you tune out of Formula One because it’s a race, really, against two people.
“The only person who can in theory give Hamilton a go is Valtteri Bottas (his Mercedes team-mate), but Hamilton is mentally tougher than Bottas.
“When George Russell got in the Mercedes, he should have won the race and in his other car he was coming pretty much last every race.
“So it just shows how important the car is. You think, ‘Is there any point in watching it because there is no competition?’.”
O’Sullivan also commented on Hamilton in another interview ahead of the awards in 2020, comparing Formula 1 to tennis and football.
He added: “I think it’s difficult to say where he is [among the country’s sporting icons].
“A lot of the sports I watch… the people that have done it, you have to look whether it’s a level playing field.
“If you have a car that is going a second a lap quicker than the other cars, in theory all he has to beat is his team-mate Bottas – who seems to be comfortable and happy playing second fiddle.
“It doesn’t mean as much as say a sport like tennis with Federer playing everyone on a level playing field, or [Eliud] Kipchoge running against everyone on a level playing field.
“Snooker is like that, too, with a level playing field. In boxing certain boxers avoid certain fighters so that makes it hard for them to have credibility unless they fought the best.”
O’Sullivan praised athletes such as Tyson Fury, adding that sport shouldn’t be based on “better equipment”.
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He continued: “That’s why you have to give credit to people like Tyson Fury because you know they won’t duck anyone and will fight anyone anywhere at any time.
“I just think sport is where there is no advantage.
“You don’t get to choose your opponent or have better equipment. So for me, [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic, Phil Taylor in darts, Tiger Woods, [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo… it’s there to see.
“I wouldn’t have felt as good about my career in snooker if I had been playing on a table where the pockets I was using were bigger than my opponent’s.
“At least in snooker everyone has the same equipment and it is totally a level playing field. I don’t choose my opponents or the table.
“It is fantastic for Lewis to win seven world titles, but if your car is going around quicker you can afford to make a few mistakes and still get away with it.
“It’s a bit like driving around smoking a cigar with one finger on the wheel!”
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