Peter Lines has spoken with Phil Haigh about Ronnie, players, aura and how snooker has changed since his debut:
Ronnie O’Sullivan is ‘absolutely frightening’ but Steve Davis had the biggest aura, says Peter Lines
Ronnie O’Sullivan may be the greatest snooker player of all time, but doesn’t hold the aura that great players of the past did, says Peter Lines, who says he was ‘in awe’ of Steve Davis on the table.
Lines regained his place on the main tour this summer as he came through Q School in the first event, returning to professional status at the age of 51.
Having turned professional way back in 1991, the Yorkshireman has taken on many of the greatest players in history and has seen the tour change significantly over the years.
With so many tournaments in the modern game, and with flat draws throwing the top players into the first round of many of them, Lines feels the elite players do not have the aura they once did, despite being as good or better than their predecessors, a presence that Davis held in abundance during his pomp in the 1980s and even past his peak into the 90s.
‘I don’t think the aura that those sort of players had…Steve Davis etc. I don’t think it’s around anymore because you see these players all the time, you’re around them, they’re on the TV, you’re on the TV,’ Lines told the Talking Snooker podcast.
‘Basically it seems that everyone gets on the TV these days, whereas you used to have to win so many matches just to get there and then you were so in awe when you got there you just folded.
‘For me, Steve Davis [had the greatest aura], because I grew up watching Steve Davis and I just love him.
‘They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes but I’ve met Steve a few times and he is a great bloke. Best exhibition I’ve ever seen, the nicest bloke you’ve met, fantastic.’
Despite Lines being in awe of his hero Davis, it is O’Sullivan he sees as the finest ever player, despite holding an impressive 2-1 head-to-head record against the Rocket.
‘The best player I’ve ever played is the Rocket because I think he’s the best player the game’s ever seen,’ he said.
‘To still be producing the level he’s producing at 45 is absolutely frightening, absolutely frightening how good he is and how good he’s always been.’
Lines wanted to give a nod to a fellow Yorkshireman in the greatest of all time debate, recognising the late great Paul Hunter as one of the top three most talented players he has seen, before his tragic death at just 27.
‘I watched Paul Hunter, he was a phenomenal talent and it’s a shame obviously that no one ever got to see him lift the world title,’ said Peter.
‘He was one of the best two or three players I’ve ever seen talent-wise, as a youngster.’
Lines will return to action at the Championship League in July in Leicester, with O’Sullivan also potentially in action at the Morningside Arena.
Yes, indeed, when you are around a person all the time, no matter who they are and what they achieved, the “intimidation” factor fades away.
As Lewis pointed out, introducing a qualification round for the Home Nations, with the top 16 playing their first round separately at the venue will probably make it harder for the lower ranked players and the rookies when they will meet those top players. That said, with only four tables, those who are really interested will be able to watch a lot more of them over the season. Hopefully we will get to see two tables, i.e, half of the matches.
And, about Ronnie, John Hunter from Cuestars Academy has made this very entertaining Break Quiz: https://www.cuestarsacademy.co.uk/ronnie-osullivan-break-quiz/ Try it out!