Ronnie O’Sullivan: Eye-opening video highlights crazy Mark Selby comparison

Ronnie O'Sullivan chalks up his cue

Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan have played out arguably the greatest rivalry that modern day snooker has had, with The Jester’s temperament and incredible guile able to match The Rocket’s flair on the baize.

There’s no doubting that both are all-time greats, a clash of styles but both incredibly successful. Unfortunately for fans, despite all the immense battles they’ve had, we’ve only been treated to a World Championship final between the two on one occasion.

Back in 2014 we finally got two full days of battle over four sessions in a best of 35 marathon, after O’Sullivan raced ahead in the early stages, Selby took his game to another level and crushed his rival in one of the greatest finals we’ve had, winning his maiden world crown 18-14.

Ronnie O’Sullivan Fastest 147

Snooker is a game of precision and takes an incredible amount of mental strength, especially when planning your route through a break, thinking a few shots ahead to make the right shot.

However, some players are much quicker around the table than others, with O’Sullivan known for his speed to entertain his fans.

Ronnie O'Sullivan
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – APRIL 30: Ronnie O’Sullivan of England reacts after a shot during the Betfred World Snooker Championship Semi-Final match between John Higgins of Scotland and Ronnie O’Sullivan of England during Day Fifteen of the Betfred World Snooker Championship at Crucible Theatre on April 30, 2022 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Back in 1997, his immense skill and speed combined to set a record which will likely never be broken. He registered the maximum break in an eye-watering time of just five minutes and 20 seconds. It’ll take something astronomical to top that!

Is Mark Selby boring?

Of course not is the simple answer! The Jester from Leicester gets branded as boring and slow, with some even going as far as to say he cheats. That simply isn’t true, it’s ludicrous in fact. The four-time champion of the world is one of the greatest players we’ve ever seen, with an astonishing 726 century breaks, placing him sixth on the all-time list and just 50 behind Stephen Hendry.

On top of this, his average shot time is rarely that different from his opponents or the average on the tour, he certainly isn’t slow by any stretch. His epic World Championship semi-final with Stuart Bingham that needed a fifth session to complete wasn’t because Selby was slow, both players had similar shot times, it takes two to tango!

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – MAY 05: Mark Selby celebrates potting the final black to win The Dafabet World Snooker Championship final at Crucible Theatre on May 5, 2014 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Although his bad press in completely unwarranted given his prodigious ability around the 12 by six foot table, he has had an instance of being really slow.

Mark Selby takes over six minutes to play a shot

However, despite writing the wrongs of Selby slander, he still has had some instances of painstakingly slow play, with him taking over six minutes on one occasion to take a shot.

He was taken on fellow four-time world champion John Higgins in the Northern Ireland Open quarter-final back in 2019.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – MAY 03: Mark Selby of England celebrates with the trophy following his victory during the Final between Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby on day seventeen of the Betfred World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre on May 3, 2021 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Zac Goodwin – Pool/Getty Images)

He was trailing 4-2 in the first to five, but had a healthy lead in the seventh. After starting at the table for six minutes and 13 seconds before finally delivering his cue, taking on a tough long red, which he missed.

Video: Mark Selby’s shot compared to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s maximum

Obviously the fact Selby took longer than O’Sullivan’s maximum to play one shot isn’t defendable, but if you can’t see a shot to play and have a mental block, what can you do? It won’t have felt like that long to Selby, although Higgins probably thought it was doubled!

Selby did drag himself level to four frames a piece before losing a decider to his fellow granite cueman, thankfully, Selby saw the funny side and joined in with the banter on social media at the time.

Despite that one-off mental block, Selby still has one of, if not the single greatest snooker mind on the planet.

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