Ronnie O’Sullivan caused plenty of controversy last week when he claimed that he would “need to lose an arm and a leg” for there to be any chance of him falling out of snooker’s top 50 ranked players.
Whilst many were dismayed by the arrogance of O’Sullivan’s comments, there can be little dispute that the five-time world champion is one of the best players to have ever competed.
The 44-year-old has shown breathtaking dominance at times throughout his career, including famously making the fastest maximum 147 break ever – in just five minutes and 20 seconds.
O’Sullivan achieved his remarkable feat during the first round of the 1997 World Championship against Mick Price. O’Sullivan received a prize of £147,000 for the break and his rapid clearance remains one of the sport’s greatest highlights.
“The Rocket” is bidding to add a sixth world triumph to his resume as he takes on Kyren Wilson in the final of this year’s championships. O’Sullivan advanced to face Wilson at The Crucible after defeating Mark Selby 17-16 in a thrilling semi-final on Friday.
Although they were closely matched earlier this week, a video has now gone viral comparing O’Sullivan’s storied 147 break against some astonishingly slow play from Selby.
During last year’s Northern Ireland Open, Selby took a painstaking six minutes and 13 seconds to play a single shot in his quarter-final clash with John Higgins.
Taking in excess of six minutes to play a shot is extreme in any circumstances, but when synced with O’Sullivan’s speedy 147, the difference shown in the Twitter video really is comical.
Overall, Selby’s single shot took 53 seconds longer than the time in which O’Sullivan managed to clear the entire table in 1997!
Selby’s diligence did not even result in a victory – and he would go on to lose his match with Higgins by five frames to four.
O’Sullivan might well have overstepped the mark in terms of his recent criticism of his peers, however, his back catalogue of extraordinary performances certainly gives him the right to express his opinion.
O’Sullivan’s outspoken demeanour, combined with some sublime skills at the table, make him somebody that fans love to watch.
We might not see a break in this weekend’s final to match O’Sullivan’s 1997 effort, but his presence all-but guarantees entertainment regardless.
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