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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Harry Latham-Coyle

‘It’s just a number’: Ronnie O’Sullivan plays down record-equalling seventh world title

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Ronnie O’Sullivan has said that he is “never bothered about records” after securing a record-equalling seventh World Championship crown.

O’Sullivan moved alongside Stephen Hendry on seven world titles after beating Judd Trump 18-13 at the Crucible in Sheffield.

The 46-year-old won his first Crucible crown in 2001, and now has a record 21 Triple Crown titles spread evenly across snooker’s three showpiece events.

Hendry reached his total in 1999, dominating the event throughout the 1990s with seven titles in ten years.

O’Sullivan suggested after his victory that he would be back in Sheffield next year bidding to take the record outright, joking that he and Hendry could “share it for a year”.

“I think it meant more to him [Stephen Hendry] than me to have seven world titles, but we will share it,” O’Sullivan said to the BBC after securing victory over Trump with a break of 85.

“Hendry is an absolute legend of the game. It is just a number – I do not get too caught up in that.

“I tried to be as relaxed as I could, but that is probably the greatest result I’ve had against somebody like Judd [Trump].

“I’ve never bothered about records. When you get them, it’s kind of nice. I don’t have targets. I’ve loved every tournament this year, I’ve just loved playing.”

O’Sullivan, who contemplated retiring from snooker in 2011, is the oldest World Championship winner in history.

He has now won 39 ranking titles and will finish the season as the top-ranked player in the world, but admitted that the occassion of the World Championship had nearly got too much for him.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to another big final like this again,” O’Sullivan said. “I thought at 35 I was done. When I went to see [psychiatrist] Steve Peters in 2011, I was ready to quit.

“No other snooker player was winning anything by that sort of age. The Hendrys and [Steve] Davises were on the way down by that age and I had accepted that was the trend.

“I am not all in with snooker and that was a problem this week. I got emotionally involved and it is hard not to at this tournament. For 11 months, it was sort of holiday time; win or lose, it did not matter. This was a different beast.

“I like to win, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. The Crucible brings out the worst in me. It’s probably not the best idea, but we’ll probably go again next year.”

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