Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan says the standard of snooker lower down the rankings is so “poor” he would have to “lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50”.
O’Sullivan, 44, beat Ding Junhui 13-10 in a high-quality contest to reach the World Championship quarter-finals. He faces Mark Williams, 45, next in Sheffield, with both players turning professional in 1992. O’Sullivan said young players coming through “are not that good really”.
Englishman O’Sullivan, Welshman Williams and Scot John Higgins all graduated as pros 28 years ago and have gone on to dominate the sport. The trio remain in snooker’s elite top 16, have won 13 world crowns between them and a staggering total of 98 ranking titles.
O’Sullivan and Williams first faced each other in the 1994 Welsh Open, with the Chigwell man claiming 31 victories in 45 head-to-head encounters.
Asked if would have believed he and Williams would still be performing at the top over two decades later, O’Sullivan told BBC Two: “Probably not if you asked me then but when you look at the standard of play, I would say yes.
“People like me, John Higgins and Mark Williams, if you look at the younger players coming through, they are not that good really. Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, not even amateurs. They are so bad.
“A lot of them you see now, you look at them and think, ‘I would have to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50’. That is why we are still hovering around, because of how poor it is down that end.”
Source and further reading – BBC