THREE-TIME world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan believes it would be near impossible for a single player to dominate the sport in a manner that Steve Davis, Steven Hendry and to an extent himself, have done in the past, such is the strength in depth of the game at present.
O’Sullivan (right), 35, has gone nearly three years since claiming his last major title, the 2008 world championship, and has slid to ninth in the world rankings as a new generation of talented cueists emerge.
Chinese sensation Ding Junhui claimed this month’s Masters, a tournament O’Sullivan exited at the first hurdle, while Aussie youngster Neil Robertson is the current world champion.
The likes of Mark Allen, who lowered O’Sullivan’s colours at Wembley, and two-time Masters winner Mark Selby represent the brightest hopes from these shores, but O’Sullivan doesn’t see a standout talent capable of ruling the roost for years to come, a fact he believes can only benefit snooker as a whole.
“I think if you look back Hendry dominated and if someone managed to nick a title it was a shock,” O’Sullivan told City A.M. “He would probably win 70 per cent of what’s on offer and the others would get spread around.
“Nowadays there isn’t any one player dominating the game and I think that’s healthy. You will always have some players winning more regularly than others but there are a lot more opportunities for people out there to win big events now.
“You might have seven or eight different winners over the season. That can only be because of the standard is so high all round and the gap not being as wide between the top players.
“I’m not saying it’s impossible [that someone will dominate], if there is that big enough gap then it can happen. It will take a special type of talent to come along and do it though.”
Players aged 16 or under on April 30 can register free for the Rileys Future Stars contest and have a chance to win £5,000 and be coached by Ronnie O’Sullivan at rileys.co.uk/futurestars