Many people have recently begun to say that
Ronnie OSullivan is the best player ever to pick up a cue. This is
particularly so since he won the World Snooker Championships in 2001 beating
John Higgins 18 frames to 14 in the final.
On a personal basis I actually enjoy watching
Mr. OSullivan play more than any other player when he is at his best, but
have noted the vast difference between his best and his worst performances in
televised matches. Ronnie has a tendency to lose to players ranked well below
To illustrate this point further and perhaps to
make an attempt to explain it, its worth noting that Ronnie has just played the
semi-final of the Stan James British Open and delivered a performance that many
amateurs would have been disappointed with. Graeme Dott also delivered a sub
standard performance but managed to scramble over the line a 6 frames to 4
winner, Graeme also seemed personally let down by his own standard in the match
but at least he won the match. Graeme Dott is a very good player but has not
won a major tournament, but has contested three major finals to my
Ronnie reminds me so much of Jimmy White in his
younger days when he would go out on the town apparently taking his next match
for granted even if only slightly, in my opinion this is not ideal preparation
for a ranking tournament semi-final. I have heard a rumour that Ronnie was seen
out on the night before the Graeme Dott match well into the early hours, if
this is true and I must say I did not see this myself, it is no great surprise
that the match went against Ronnie.
Why does any of this matter? If Ronnie wishes to
be regarded as one of the greatest players ever, he must put more effort into
approaching matches in a way that will give him the best chance of consistently
producing the goods. The urge to go out with the gang must be very tempting
during a tournament, as the gang in question, are all together. I don't mean to
preach, but the goal of becoming, the world number one is well within Ronnie's
capabilities and also the opportunity exists for him to be the first player to
retain the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Neither, Davis, Hendry, or John Higgins have
managed to retain the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre. The reason I
pick out these three names is that they are arguably most peoples choices
as "great players of the current era". If Ronnie continues to approach the
professional game as a chore, he will never achieve the results or consistency
that he seeks. However, if he takes pride and joy from his talent and applies
himself with a positive attitude, I believe that there is next to nothing that
he can't achieve in the game. As John Virgo is fond of saying, success comes
before work only in the dictionary.
Self discipline is a skill that some people are
born with a greater or lesser degree of just like any other skill. If a person
sees the end product of their application as worthwhile then this discipline
becomes worthwhile. Ronnie I suspect feels that he has arrived and has little
to prove, I for one don't quite agree.
Why is it that John Parrott, Ken Doherty, Joe
Johnson, Mark Williams, Terry Griffiths, Alex Higgins, and Dennis Taylor are
not held in the same esteem as Ray Reardon, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry? It
must have something to do with consistency which is demonstrated by the number
of titles they all held at their peak.
Ronnie will be judged only at the end of his
career and I feel sure, not by me. However wouldn't it be really god to have
the most exciting to watch player as both World Champion and world number one
for a season or two?
In conclusion it is interesting to ponder the
following question who do you think will win their second World Snooker title
amongst the following players first?
John Higgins, Ken Doherty, Mark Williams or
I will eagerly await these players progress, one
final thought, will Mathew Stevens, Paul Hunter or Stephen Lee win their first
World title before the any of the above mentioned players win their second?
Confidence plays a major part in top class sport
or for that matter in sport at any level, whatever happens, I am confident that
I will enjoy watching the drama unfold and hope that you will too.