Ronnie O’Sullivan Set To Make History As First Member Of Crucible Centurion Club

The Rocket takes on Belgium’s Luca Brecel on Tuesday
09:24, 24 Apr 2023

Ronnie O’Sullivan creates a Crucible centurion club of just one on Tuesday – in the Sheffield city he has made a second home.

The Rocket is preparing to take on Belgium’s Luca Brecel, another former snooker prodigy, as the world No1 and defending champion bids for a record eighth world title.

But the quarter-final will also incredibly mark the 47-year-old O’Sullivan’s 100th match in the famous and iconic theatre.


Stephen Hendry, the other legend with seven titles to his name, stands on 90 and is looking increasingly unlikely ever to make it back to the biggest stage despite a comeback.

And John Higgins made his own tally 89 and counting by reaching the last 16. But as in so many other areas of the sport, O’Sullivan stands alone, head and shoulders above the rest.

He has also won the most matches at the World Championship, 76, since it was staged at the Crucible. And made the most appearances, 31 consecutively, to stand one ahead of Steve Davis.

And all that adds up to a lot of time spent in the Steel City. O’Sullivan, who even had his own canal boat here for a while, said: “I have played a lot of matches here, and come here a long time.

“At some point it has to end - but I hope it doesn’t end soon. I hope when I am not performing as well as I need to win tournaments, I can still come here and enjoy playing.

“If I have to qualify, then so be it. Not do what Stephen Hendry did which was walk away a little bit earlier than he maybe should have done.

“You can keep playing, enjoying it, reinventing yourself, I don’t have to win tournaments to enjoy this game. I love my practice more than my tournaments. That is a massive incentive for me to keep playing.

“I have spent a lot of time here, and made this my home. I try to make every tournament my home. 20-odd years ago when I took up running, I wasn’t prepared to give up running to come away.

“So everything I do at home, I do here. So I run, I do my painting, do some work on the iPad, catch up on things without distractions at home. It is a rest for me in many ways.

“Looking back at all the matches, I think 2012 was my best performance, that stands out for me. I never thought I would ever win it again.

“So to win it then and play as well as I did, some matches I played there…against Mark Williams, that was high-quality. The Neil Robertson one was high-quality.

“And the 2013 win was special, having not played all year and then come back to win. I probably played some of the best snooker I could possibly play in the final against Barry Hawkins, who played unbelievable as well.

“They stand out for me. 2020 was also an unbelievable year for me. I was playing so bad. But to win it playing so bad, that was cool. I would never have done that pre-working with Steve Peters.

“I would have given up. I would not have been interested in toughening it out. But I found a way to win, and I stayed in the game.

“But on the other side I have lost here two or three times and thought ‘If I could have just got through that match, I would have probably won it.’

“Matches got away where I thought I was flying, and if I had got through that game, then it would have taken a good player playing dynamite to stop me.

“The one where Barry Hawkins beat me 13-12. I was playing well enough there, just not enough tournaments. I had done 60 exhibitions that year. So, I had no safety game.

“Ding Junhui beat me in the quarters. I was cueing well, but that one got away. That was about it. 2019, I had food poisoning when I was playing alright.

“But that can happen. It takes an illness, it takes a breaking of the cue, it takes anything.”

O'Sullivan is 7/4 to win the World Championship with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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