Ronnie O’Sullivan insists world champion Judd Trump must consistently win silverware to join snooker’s all-time greats.
Trump is world No 1 and cues off at the UK Championship this week looking to complete a ‘Triple Crown’ grand slam after winning the Masters and World Championship in 2019.
Already this season, the 30-year-old, who first burst onto the scene in 2011 when he won the China Open and reached the Crucible final, has secured victories at the International Championship, World Open and Northern Ireland Open.
The latter saw Trump beat O’Sullivan 9-7 in Belfast earlier this month, but the ‘Rocket’ believes the Bristolian needs to produce consistently over the next decade if he wants to join the game’s elite.
Five-time world champion O’Sullivan, who first won the UK title aged 17, has won 19 ‘Triple Crown’ titles (comprising the Masters, World Championship and UK Championship), the latest of which came 12 months ago in York when he claimed the UK Championship.
That win saw him beat Stephen Hendry’s record of 18 ‘Triple Crown’ titles. Steve Davis is next on 15, John Higgins has nine, Mark Selby eight while Trump – described by O’Sullivan as a “fantastic player” – has three.
“There are some records Judd can chase,” said O’Sullivan, 44 next month. “We’re probably better off having this conversation in 10 years’ time because to be an all-time great you’ve got to do it over 10 to 15 years, and then you can start having that conversation.
“He’s had one good season and he’s a fantastic player and a fantastic talent.
“But talent will only take you so far, there’s a few more ingredients involved, so like all great sportsmen he needs to do it over more than one season.”
‘Triple Crown’ wins are the measure of success which O’Sullivan employs.
It was why his 10-6 win over Mark Allen last year in York was a career landmark, seeing him overtake his idol Hendry.
“It was about consistency, anything that relates to consistency is pretty cool, it was done over a long period of time,” explained O’Sullivan. “And obviously I’ve won a lot of big major tournaments, with a lot of pressure involved.
“It’s not easy to win one, let alone 19. It’s got to be up there with one of the best achievements in any sport really.
“These titles are probably a good way to compare snooker with other sports. It’s the best way to be able to judge how your career has gone.
“I suppose it’s a bit like Federer in tennis – Djokovic, Nadal – going for their majors. Woods going for his majors in golf. I suppose that’s our equivalent.
“I wouldn’t watch tennis unless it’s Federer, Djokovic, Nadal. I wouldn’t watch football unless Messi’s playing and I wouldn’t watch golf unless Tiger Woods is playing. I want to watch someone who’s doing the business,” added O’Sullivan, who plays amateur Ross Bulman in his opener on Thursday.