Teary Ronnie O’Sullivan drops retirement hint after matching World Championship record

Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he will “probably go again” at the World Snooker Championship next year in a hint he has no plans to retire just yet after being moved to tears. The Rocket became the oldest world champion ever at 46 by beating Judd Trump 18-13 in the final at the Crucible. He matches Stephen Hendry’s modern era record of seven titles.

O’Sullivan, who picked up a £500,000 top prize, took four of the six frames on Monday evening to wrap up his record-equalling feat. His seventh triumph comes 21 years after his first and sees him eclipse Ray Reardon, who was 45 in 1978, as the oldest ever winner.

But The Rocket, who embraced runner-up Trump for more than a minute and then burst into tears when hugging his children, has suggested he’s going nowhere just yet. O’Sullivan now holds 39 ranking titles and told the BBC: “I honestly don’t have targets. I’ve loved every tournament this year, I just love playing. This has brought out the worst in me to be honest!

“I’ve detached emotion for the last seven or eight years, I do treat every tournament like a training camp, I do my gym, do my running, I eat good food. I like to win but it’s not the be-all and end-all. I love competing with the guys and being around the guys. This just brings out the worst in me! I don’t know if it’s a good idea but we’ll probably go again next year.”

Losing finalist Trump meanwhile labelled O’Sullivan, who holds near every major record in the sport, as the greatest player ever to pick up a cue after being denied the chance to become only the seventh multiple champion ever.

Trump said: “Firstly I just want to say massive congratulations to Ronnie. It’s been a pleasure to share a table with him. He’s always been so good to me throughout my career, letting me practice with him when I was younger. It’s an amazing achievement and he’ll go down as the best player of all time.

“He just keeps getting better and better. His determination and dedication, you can see it out there. He barely misses the ball over the 31 frames. He was the best player this tournament by quite a distance. I was just glad to make a match out of it this afternoon!”

O’Sullivan added of Trump: “As far as I’m concerned this fella [Trump] is already an all-time great, the way he plays the game. He plays such dynamic snooker. To put up with that pressure for two days… Even when he’s not playing well you think he’s going to spark into action. You’re having to be on your guard at all times.

“I tried to be as relaxed as I could but that is probably my greatest result I’ve ever had, against somebody like Judd. I’ve never bothered about records! Don’t get me wrong when you get them, it’s kinda nice.

“But I’ve never performed well if I’m going for stuff like that, I’ve just tried to enjoy my game, compete and enjoy being on the circuit and enjoy what I do and work hard at my game. And then you let the snooker gods decide what they’re going to decide.

“These 17 days, they were on my side. With Judd, we all knew he wasn’t playing his best, but that’s what a champion does. They get to the final without playing their best and nearly win it. He’s going to win it a few times and the other guys better get their act together!”

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