Ronnie O’Sullivan rivals question the Rocket’s World Championship favourite tag

Ronnie O’Sullivan is bidding for an eighth world title (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan goes into this year’s World Snooker Championship as the bookmakers’ favourite to lift the trophy yet again, but not all his rivals agree with that assessment.

It has been a stunning season for the Rocket, winning five titles including the UK Championship and the Masters, still riding high as world number one at 48 years old.

However, he is not the only player to have had a remarkable campaign, with Judd Trump also picking up five titles on an amazing run of success.

Luca Brecel is defending champion at the Crucible this year and asked whether it should be the Rocket or the Ace who is favourite, he leans towards Trump.

‘I would maybe put Judd favourite for the worlds,’ said the Belgian Bullet. ‘There are a couple. Obviously Ronnie. [Mark] Selby always. Who knows.’

It was certainly no slight on O’Sullivan, with Brecel adding: ‘He’s just an unbelievable player, Ronnie. He’s the best ever.

‘He’s just got something special because he’s better than the rest of us. He doesn’t always need to play his best to win. In snooker, you have it or you don’t have it, and he clearly has it.’

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2023 - Day Twelve

Luca Brecel beat the Rocket in last year’s quarter-finals (Picture: Getty Images)

Mark Selby agrees with the Bullet that he would slightly favour Trump in the battle between the two standout players this season.

‘Rightly so the limelight will be on Judd and Ronnie because they’ve been the form players this year by a long way,’ the four-time world champion told Metro.

‘But going to Sheffield that form book goes out the window. I’ve been there plenty of times not really playing well going into it and you end up having a good comp. Other times you go there having had a great season, expecting to go deep and you get bombed out first or second round.

‘I’d probably go for Trump over Ronnie. I think consistently he seems to be playing good stuff. I know Ronnie has played well this year but in patches I still don’t think he’s played good as what his results have shown, I think he’s said that himself. He’s won a few comps and not really played great.

2024 BetVictor German Masters - Day 7

Judd Trump has taken his ranking title tally to 28 (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Obviously you can only beat what’s in front of you, but Judd has played some great stuff in some of the comps.’

O’Sullivan may still be the dominant force on the baize, but he doesn’t always feel like that himself, sometimes struggling to find comfort in his technique despite results being excellent and he agrees with his doubters to an extent.

‘I definitely don’t feel like the favourite,’ said the Rocket. ‘But I’ll go there and give it a go, I’m going to try my best, give it 100 per cent and see where we get.’


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