O'Sullivan, Hendry, Davis, Higgins, Trump: Who's the greatest snooker player ever?

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The chairman of the World Snooker Tour and sports promoter Barry Hearn has given his verdict to Eurosport on who he considers the top 10 snooker players of all time.

Hearn is well placed to construct such a list as he boasts 40 years of experience in the world of snooker. He was the founder and president of promotions company Matchroom Sport, which is a huge player in the snooker industry.

There’s always controversy when people give their GOAT sporting countdowns, and somebody is always going to be offended. Hearn’s list will certainly divide opinion. He states from the outset that his list favours players from recent times, due to the standard of professional snooker coming on leaps and bounds over the years.

In at number 10 is ‘The Whirlwind’ Jimmy White. Hearn praises White’s “solid technique and sound temperament”. During his career he won two major titles, but the World Championship eluded him. Hearn believes that he had the ability but just couldn’t quite get over the line to become World Champion.

At number nine we have Alex Higgins. He boasts a trophy cabinet with five major titles, including two World Championships. Hearn gives Higgins huge credit for his personality and impact on the sport. However, he is of the opinion that Higgins would struggle to compete with modern players as a result of his often-risky shot selections and significant number of misses.

Three times Masters champion Paul Hunter is at number eight. He sadly passed, however, away after a battle with cancer. He was only 27 years old. Hearn believes in his short time at the top of the game, he showed immense talent and could have been much higher on his list had he not passed away so young.

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Mark Selby comes in at number seven. With eight major titles, it’s difficult to leave him out. While Hearn believes his natural talent doesn’t match up to players like Ronnie O’Sullivan, his winning mentality makes up for it.

Judd Trump sits at number six. An interesting choice so high up the list with just three major titles to his name. Hearn puts this selection down to his potential to perhaps be the best of all time.

At number five we have Ray Reardon. He dominated during the 70’s, claiming a remarkable six world titles, and was said to be “ahead of his time”.

At four John Higgins makes an appearance. Hearn believes he is a superb all-rounder, and “probably the greatest match player the game has produced”. His impressive temperament led him to nine major titles.

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Hearn’s number three is Steve Davis. With 15 major titles it’s no surprise he’s as high up as this. A reliable and ruthless player, Davis stormed his way to six world titles in the 80’s.

Stephen Hendry is at number two. The seven-time world champion was a “winning machine”. He was also Masters Champion six times and the UK Champion five times.

Unsurprisingly, Ronnie O’Sullivan is at number one. Hearn credits O’Sullivan as being the greatest natural talent he’s ever seen. O’Sullivan has won an insane 19 major titles and possesses flair that is unrivalled.

It’s difficult to argue against such a knowledgeable figure in the industry, although I’m sure many will try!

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