O'Sullivan on facing Williams: 'He’s done and dusted, shouldn’t even be here'
Asked to assess the game of World Championship opponent Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan sounded as dismissive as could be: ‘He’s all done and dusted, shouldn’t even be here.’
So often with the Rocket you are not sure whether he is joking or not, but the chuckle that ended that statement confirmed that his tongue was firmly in his cheek.
The five-time world champion takes on three-time world champion Williams in the quarter-finals at the Crucible starting on Monday as the legend of the Class of 92 continue to ride high.
O’Sullivan blasted the young talent in snooker, saying he would have to lose an arm and a leg to drop out of the world’s top 50, which is why the veterans are still going strong.
Asked to assess Williams’ game at the moment, Ronnie said: ‘He’s 45, he’s all done and dusted, shouldn’t even be here. I don’t know what he’s doing here.’
The Welshman, like the Rocket, has looked to take the pressure off himself at this stage of his career and try to just play for enjoyment, something that O’Sullivan says is crucial.
‘I think you have to at some point because there’s only so much pressure you can take,’ explained Ronnie. ‘We all love this sport. Even Ray Reardon at 78, he still wants to get his cue out of the case, but it has to be on your terms at some point.
They first met professionally in 1994, but O’Sullivan remembers their history going even further back than that.
‘People forget, we were playing on the junior circuit from 1986 onwards, me and Williams were playing in Pro-Ams together all the time,’ the Rocket told Betfred.
‘Then Higgins come along I think in ’89 so me and Williams had two or three years of battling each other then we had this little Scottish fella come along, Higgins.
‘I’ve looked and thought: “Who’s this little geezer?”
‘So we’ve had lots of battles as juniors, amateurs and now professionals, so we’ve been in each other’s heads for probably 34 years now.’
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