Ronnie O'Sullivan On His ''Special Bond'' With Fellow Snooker Great Stephen Hendry

The Rocket says the experience of being the best over such a long period means there's an unspoken understanding with Hendry
22:05, 15 Apr 2022

Ronnie O’Sullivan insists Stephen Hendry is the only player that gets him – and that the pair are snooker’s ‘special ones’. 

The Rocket gets his Betfred World Championship campaign underway today at the Crucible in Sheffield bidding for a record-equalling seventh crown. 

It remains Scot Hendry’s proudest achievement, and the 53-year-old has already seen world No1 O’Sullivan overtake most of the marks he set. 

The argument continues to rage over who is the greatest – but if O’Sullivan lifts the trophy this year that will settle the debate for many given his other accolades. 

And he says the experience of being the best over such a long period means there is an almost unspoken understanding with Hendry, who returned to the tour as a player two years ago. 

O’Sullivan said: “There is a special bond between me and Stephen. When you have done it on the biggest stages over so many years, very few players know what it’s like to be that successful. 

“You get players come along who have one, two, three good years. But then they go missing, get drawn into the pack and aren’t so dominant. 

“Stephen and I were dominant for decades. Within that there are times when your game dips and challengers emerge. But that is the test of a true champion. 

“It is not easy, being at the top like that for so long. It requires talent, courage, determination and bottle. 

“Even John Higgins and Mark Williams, while great, great players, haven’t achieved half of what Stephen and I have. 

“We might not be the best mates or the closest in that sense, but there is respect, and we both know we have qualities that no other snooker players and not many sportspeople possess.

O'Sullivan is bidding for a record-equalling seventh World Championship crown
O'Sullivan is bidding for a record-equalling seventh World Championship crown

“If you asked Mark Williams ‘what’s it like winning three world titles’ he would rightly say ‘it’s very tough’. And he is a great player. So imagine how hard it is to win six or seven? 

“Stephen and I know it takes a special sort of player to be able to do that. 

“For a lot of people in the game and watching on it would mean a lot if I equalled his record. And it might put a few questions to bed. 

“I think Stephen would really like to keep that record of seven – and maybe I am the least bothered out of anyone! Having said that…I wouldn’t say no.” 

Despite an underwhelming comeback after getting an invitation two-year tour card, Hendry says he wants to carry on if as expected he gets another one. 

But O’Sullivan said: “Sometimes I don’t know why Stephen wants to play on or what is going on in his head, he obviously has his reasons.  

“He may not ever make any money again from snooker on the table. Maybe he should just carry on doing TV punditry and have a laugh. Does he need the stress?” 

Something new for O’Sullivan this year is a shop bearing his name in the popular Meadowhall mall in the Steel City. 

The Rocket has launched ranges of leisure wear and running kit, and will be making appearances over the coming weeks along with a host of other top players. 

He added: “I have been involved in choosing the ranges, and it is mainly casual stuff that I would wear. There will probably be Ronnie O’Sullivan tables and cues soon. 

“I will show my face there unannounced during the World Championship, although I’m not sure my maths is up to the checkout till. 

“There is loads of merchandise in there – clothing, running gear, hoodies, T-shirts, tops, mugs, nice stuff for snooker fans or anyone really as well as some trophies and family pictures. 

“And then there are the snooker tables and cues. It will be there in Meadowhall in Sheffield for a couple of months. 

“I am delighted, there could be more in other countries during tournaments and I am the only one in snooker that could do it. 

“Of course it is nice to see it opening with your name over the door. And this is the latest development of my decision 10 years ago to do more than play snooker. 

“I looked at every other snooker player and thought I don’t envy you, and I wouldn’t want to be in their position. I needed to do different things, and I have. It doesn’t happen overnight.” 

**The Ronnie O’Sullivan Shop is open in Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Centre until the end of May** 

Betfred World Championship Odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at:

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.