Mark Allen is hell-bent on denying Ronnie the fairy-tale ending to his film. The Rocket has had a documentary crew following him about this season getting warts-and-all footage of the sport’s maverick No1 box office star.
And world No1 O’Sullivan could provide the cherry on the cake by winning the Betfred World Championship for a seventh time, equalling Stephen Hendry’s record.
But fierce competitor Allen, 36, beat his rival in their only previous Crucible clash – at the same last-16 stage 13 years ago.
And while the world No15 fully expects O’Sullivan to match or beat Hendry’s mark before he hangs up his cue, Allen is determined that will not be this year.
Allen’s more recent record in Sheffield is underwhelming, having reached the quarter-finals just once in a decade.
But ahead of Friday's clash, he said: “Ronnie has his documentary crew here and they may want the footage of him equalling the record and lifting the trophy. Of course I want to ruin that, and so will other players.
“It’s not the Ronnie O’Sullivan show here at the Crucible, even if that’s what his documentary might be. They are other players battling it out, it’s not all about him.
“We appreciate how good he is and what he brings to the game, but there are players standing in his way before he can even think about the title.
“If he is still there by the semi-finals, he may be hard to shift. But playing him you know you have to play well, and that can free your mind up.
“It’s what we play the game for – to play the best on the biggest stage. I’ll have to play very well, but you could say about others in the second round.
“I beat him in our only previous Crucible meeting so I’ll try and take those good memories into the match. If I play well and control myself, who knows?
“And who knows how he is feeling – a day in the life of Ronnie O’Sullivan, I’m not sure I’d want to be in it. Ronnie is Ronnie, he will always bring off-table stuff with him.
“But that is part and parcel of what he brings to the sport and how big a draw he has become. It is not just that he is a genius on the table, but the stuff he does off it.
“He is probably the only one in our game that can create the column inches he does. He looks in a good place so far, but we all know how quickly that can change with him.
“So it is up to me to go out there Friday and Saturday, try to play well and maybe get under his skin a little bit and change that.
“I do think Ronnie will equal or beat Stephen Hendry’s record of seven, he is a genius and the best to ever play the game. I just hope it isn’t this year.”
The two events where Allen feels the pressure most are here at the blue-riband tournament, and back home in Northern Ireland.
But he finally overcame that in Belfast this season to lift the trophy – and hopes there can be a similar breakthrough at the Crucible.
He added: “The two tournaments where I feel it are here and in Belfast, but it is a totally different pressure. There, other people want me to do well. At the Crucible, I want me to do well.
“I hadn’t handled Belfast at all well in the past and winning it this season was out of character. So hopefully I can be out of character again in Sheffield and win this.”
Meanwhile O’Sullivan admits that Allen is a major obstacle to him winning a seventh world title. And the Rocket believes Allen will one day lift the trophy.
O’Sullivan said: “I do think that Mark Allen will be world champion here one day. He is one of the players that has the bottle and the mentality to win this tournament.
“I’d be surprised if he didn’t. It will be a mega, mega tough match for me. He has beaten me at the Crucible, I haven’t beaten him here.
“So it will be a tough game and he hasn’t got much to do to close any gap with those right at the top of the game. He won in Northern Ireland this season, and has won other titles.
“He beats top players on a regular basis, so he is a top player. You almost have to take Neil Robertson and Judd Trump out of it as they have been so dominant in the last few years.
“But after those two his record stands up to almost anyone. As for his recent Crucible record… John Higgins had a spell here where he didn’t win much.
“You just need to get one big result and get some momentum. It is just a very hard venue to get wins, and it can easily go wrong.”
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