Ronnie O'Sullivan sent a warning to his snooker rivals whilst entertaining fans in a brilliant interview after claiming his fourth Champion of Champions title.
World No.1 O'Sullivan was imperious once again as he brushed aside Judd Trump 10-6 in an enthralling final of the prestigious event in Bolton. Trump's magical 147 break in frame eight was in vain, despite a stirring comeback as the 2019 world champion fought back from 6-1 to trail 7-6. But on-song O'Sullivan blitzed Trump in the final session with a break-building masterclass to close out the match in style.
The Rocket has added his latest title to last month's Hong Kong Masters crown and is in ominous form ahead of the upcoming UK Championship in York, an event he has already won seven times.
"I’ve been on a roll for 30 years," O'Sullivan joked when told he is now on a roll. "I’ve got seven of them so I suppose eight sounds good, could always do with another one I suppose," the jovial 46-year-old added when asked about whether he fancies his third title of the season.
O'Sullivan's victory over the next most exciting player of his generation in Trump was further evidence that he rises to the big occasion. The seven-time Crucible king slumped to a shock early Northern Ireland Open exit last month, but continues to thrive in front of packed-out arenas and has now won two high-profile invitational events in quick succession.
"Most of the tournaments these days we play in front of 30-40 people, playing lower-ranked players," O'Sullivan said. "It’s very de-motivating, and at my age I need to play in front of an audience like this, otherwise I’m going to be flat. I tend to do better in these types of tournaments."
O'Sullivan has won each of the Triple Crown events, including the World Championship and the Masters, seven times, and will be the man to beat at the Barbican as the tournament gets underway this weekend.
But despite three century breaks and further runs of 96, 88, 85 and 81, O'Sullivan claimed it was his temperament that got him over the line, rather than his free flowing game.
"We both know we didn’t flow today," the world champion said. "It was a grafting performance. I didn’t leave anything out there. My temperament and attitude, I was just trying to stay as professional as I could and stay in the moment.
"Even at 6-1 up, I didn’t once think about the lead. I know what Judd is like and I knew he could do what he did and pull back to 7-6. I was just pleased with how I dug in at the end there. We both like to play well every frame, but that is just not possible. This game is too hard for that."