Ronnie O’Sullivan puts himself in snooker’s second division behind three players


Ronnie O’Sullivan reckons the Class of ’92 are just behind their younger rivals (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan feels the elite of snooker can be split into two divisions and he is in the second tier along with his Class of ’92 rivals John Higgins and Mark Williams.

The Rocket believes there is little difference in quality among the very best in the sport, but as the legends of the Class of ’92 advance through their mid-40s, they can’t quite keep up with their younger rivals.

The 45-year-old reckons the trio of Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson should be considered the top flight of snooker at the moment, with the veterans just behind.

‘I would probably narrow it down into maybe two divisions now,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport when considering snooker’s elite.

‘I think you’d have to say Selby, Trump and possibly Robertson, you could say that they are the three strongest players. I think outside of that, then you put me, John Higgins and Mark Williams, just because of the age.

‘Because at my age now, if I win a tournament, or at least put my heart and soul into it, it takes me three or four days just to sort of recover again to be able to go again.

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Ten

World number one Judd Trump is certainly in the top tier of snooker (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Whereas maybe seven, eight years ago I could win the World Championship and then wake up the next day and think, “I could do that again”.

‘So I think I would probably break that down into two divisions: Selby, Trump, Robertson – just because of their age, not because of their ability to play the game, but just that they’re able to concentrate and recover one match after another a lot better than say, me, Williams or Higgins would.’

O’Sullivan could not have even claimed to be in the second division with his performance in the German Masters qualifiers on Monday where he was thrashed 5-0 by Hossein Vafaei.

The Iranian was in fine form, making breaks of 52, 50, 81 141 and 64, although O’Sullivan had given up the ghost long before the final ball was potted.

Finding himself 4-0 down on return from the interval, the Rocket broke off by smashing the pack of reds, fortunately enough potting one and landing on the black, although he still lost the frame and match.

John Higgins also fell at the first hurdle this week and will not be in Berlin in January after losing to Noppon Saengkham.

Mark Williams has made it through to the last 32 at the Tempodrom, as have Trump, Selby, Robertson and the likes of Kyren Wilson, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire.

O’Sullivan will next be in action on Monday at the English Open in Milton Keynes, playing David Lilley in the opening round.

MORE : Ronnie O’Sullivan reveals the ‘problem’ with next generation of snooker stars

MORE : Joe Perry takes aim at qualifiers, rankings, the snooker calendar and Crucible criticism

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