Reflecting on the decade – Players of the decade.

This is the first of a series of reflection of the 2010-2019 decade on the baize. There will be two sorts of articles: themed ones, and the ones looking at a specific year. This one is a themed one: who are the “players of the decade”?

Mark Selby

Mark has won 16 ranking events since the start of 2010, more than anyone else.

  • the 2011 Shanghai Masters
  • the 2012 UK Championship
  • the 2014 World Championship
  • the 2015 German Masters
  • the 2015 China Open
  • the 2016 World Championship
  • the 2016 Paul Hunter Classic
  • the 2016 International Championship
  • the 2016 UK Championship
  • the 2017 China Open
  • the 2017 World Championship
  • the 2017 International Championship
  • the 2018 China Open
  • the 2018 China Championship
  • the 2019 English Open
  • the 2019 Scottish Open

In addition he has also won 4 invitational events

  • the 2010 Masters
  • the 2010 six-reds World Championship
  • the 2011 Wuxi Classic
  • the 2013 Masters

And 7 minor ranking events

  • the 2010 PTC event 2
  • the 2011 PTC event 4
  • the 2012 European Tour event 1
  • the 2013 European Tour event 6 (January 2013)
  • the 2013 European Tour event 7
  • the 2014 European Tour event 1
  • the 2016 European Tour event 6

That’s 27 professional events, including 7 Triple Crown events

Mark has been World n°1 for the best part of the decade: September 2011–November 2012, December 2012–February 2013, April–June 2013, May–July 2014, August–December 2014, February 2015–March 2019. The last spell lasted for over four years, which is quite extraordinary.

Mark has played 874 matches during the decade of which he won 648 (74%)

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie has won 14 ranking events since the start of 2010, joint second (with Judd Trump) to Mark Selby

  • the 2012 German Masters
  • the 2012 World Championship
  • the 2013 World Championship
  • the 2014 Welsh Open
  • the 2014 UK Championship
  • the 2016 Welsh Open
  • the 2017 English Open
  • the 2017 Shanghai Masters
  • the 2017 UK Championship
  • the 2018 World Grand Prix
  • the 2018 Players Championship
  • the 2018 UK Championship
  • the 2019 Players Championship
  • the 2019 Tour Championship

In addition he has also won 10 invitational events

  • the 2010 Premier League
  • the 2011 Premier League
  • the 2013 Champion of Champions
  • the 2014 Masters
  • the 2014 Champion of Champions
  • the 2016 Masters
  • the 2017 Masters
  • the 2018 Shanghai Masters
  • the 2018 Champion of Champions
  • the 2019 Shanghai Masters

And  3 minor events

  • the 2011 PTC event 1
  • the 2011 PTC event 7
  • the 2013 European Tour event 4

That’s 27 professional events including 8 Triple Crown events

During the decade, Ronnie has established a number of new records: most UK Championships (7), most Masters (7), most Triple Crown events (19), and joint record (with Stephen Hendry) of ranking events 36. He also holds the record for most centuries – he scored his 1000th one in the final frame of the 2019 Players Championship final and stands currently at 1035 – and has made a record 15 competitive maximum breaks. He also scored a record 556 points without reply in the QF of the 2014 Masters.

Ronnie has played 471 matches during the decade, of which he has won 372 (79%). It’s truly remarkable that Ronnie has matched Mark Selby in the number of professional events won , despite playing singnificantly less matches over the decade. His striking rate is very high. It’s equally remarkable that, under the circumstances, he was able to regain the n°1 spot after winning the Tour Championship in 2019, at the age of 43. And, of course, he famously managed to win the 2013 World Championship after sitting out the whole 2012/13 season except for one low profile match, that he had lost, in a minor ranking event.

Those two between them have won 30 ranking events out of 130 (23%, not far from 1 in 4) over the decade. Even more significant, they have won 15 Triple Crown events out of 30 between them, wich represents 50%, 1 in 2, over the last ten years: 5 World Chamionships, 5 Masters, 5 UK Championships.

Other big hitters over the decade are

Judd Trump: 14 ranking events, including 1 UK Championship and 1 World Championship, 4 minor ranking events and 2 invitational events including 1 Master – 3 Triple Crown events

Neil Robertson: 12 ranking events, including 1 World Championshi and 2 UK Championships, 5 minor ranking events, 4 invitational events (1 Master) – 4 Triple Crown events

John Higgins: 10 ranking events, including 1 World Championship and 1 UK Championship, 3 minor events, 2 invitational events – 2 Triple Crown events.

Judd Trump of course has really come to age in the last three years and has completely dominated the last year of the decade, 2019. He is well and truly the Player of the 2019 Year, with 5 ranking events and the Masters, being the World Champion and the World n°1. This article though is about the past decade.

Between them those five players – competing on a 128 men tour (*) – have won 66 ranking events out of 130, more than 50% and 24 Triple Crown events out of 30, a whooping 80%.

(*) I don’t know how many professional players have been competing over the whole decade, but, with players dropping off and new ones qualifying every season I wouldn’t be surprised that their number exceeded 250. If this is correct it means that 2% (or less) of the players have won 50% of the titles, and 80% of the Triple Crowns. Amazing!

End of stats attack!

Note that, in counting invitational events, I didn’t take into accounts those that are/were qualifying events for another invitational event, like for instance the defunct qualifying event for the Masters or the Championship League Snooker. The format of the latter BTW is such that players may be tempted to lose some matches in order to stay in a lucrative next group rather than secure their spot in the winners group. I also did not take into account minor events that were sanctioned events, but not main tour events. Some of those in China for instance were not widely advertised and only those in the know were able to enter. Team events were not taken into account either for obvious reasons.

8 thoughts on “Reflecting on the decade – Players of the decade.

  1. Wasn’t the 1000th century at the Players’ Championship? (The second of the Coral series.) The Tour was when he regained the Number 1 ranking. Neil said something about every loss in a final is attached to some record. 🙂

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