Ronnie O’Sullivan makes winning World Snooker title at Crucible feel like playing ‘practice match at my club’

Back on top: Ronnie O’Sullivan holds aloft the Betfred World Championship trophy for the sixth time in his career in front of the few hundred or so fans permitted into the Crucible last night.  (Picture: Benjamin Mole/WST/Shutterstock)Back on top: Ronnie O’Sullivan holds aloft the Betfred World Championship trophy for the sixth time in his career in front of the few hundred or so fans permitted into the Crucible last night.  (Picture: Benjamin Mole/WST/Shutterstock)
Back on top: Ronnie O’Sullivan holds aloft the Betfred World Championship trophy for the sixth time in his career in front of the few hundred or so fans permitted into the Crucible last night. (Picture: Benjamin Mole/WST/Shutterstock)
Ronnie O’Sullivan was crowned Crucible champion last night, 19 years after his first World Championship title.

The 44-year-old’s seven-year wait for a sixth world title ended with a one-sided 18-8 victory over Kyren Wilson in Sheffield.

The world No 2 – who tasted victory at the Crucible in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013 – had not been in the final since losing to Mark Selby in 2014.

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But at a tournament which has mainly been played behind closed doors, 300 fans were allowed in as part of the government’s pilot scheme to allow crowds back to public events, O’Sullivan seemed destined to be champion.

He was 7-2 down to Mark Williams in the quarter-finals, 13-9 and 16-14 behind to Selby in the semi-finals, but refused to wilt.

His meeting with Wilson, the 28-year-old competing in his first final, was tight at 10-8, before O’Sullivan stepped up a gear to fire off eight successive frames and move within one of Stephen Hendry’s record seven Crucible titles. Not that O’Sullivan is putting too much emphasis – in public at least – on matching Hendry’s record haul.

“I’m not out there to break records and stuff like that,” said O’Sullivan. “I think if I wanted to break records I probably wouldn’t play as well as I do.

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“I think you need to play with as much abandonment as you can and I think that means not putting too much meaning into records. If I start looking at that trophy for meaning and the history that’s in it, I’d probably freeze. I think my greatest asset is that I can look like I’m in a practice match down at the club when I’m playing at the Crucible.”

O’Sullivan added: “I found my cue action at 10 o’clock this morning on the practice table, which gave me the confidence to go in and play aggressively. He came out first and banged a long red in and I knew it was up to me to turn the tide.

“I had to get more aggressive and make something happen, which I did. I played some solid snooker this afternoon. The table wasn’t easy, and I had to use my experience and my creativity, and that suits my game really.”

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