Inteviewed by Phil Haigh and Nick Metcalfe on their podcast John Virgo gave this assessment on Ronnie and his career, and a “summary” was reported by Phil Haigh in metro.co.uk:
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the best sportsman Britain has produced but has still underachieved, says John Virgo
Most snooker fans rate Ronnie O’Sullivan as the greatest to ever pick up a cue, but John Virgo has gone further, saying he is the best sportsman Britain has ever produced, despite underachieving over his career.
The Rocket has 37 ranking titles to his name, the most of any player in history, six of those being World Championships and another seven UK Championships.
Still going strong at 45-years-old and ranked number three in the world, O’Sullivan will likely add to his ranking title tally in the coming months and years, further cementing his spot as snooker’s GOAT.
Virgo has no doubt in his mind that Ronnie is the best player he has ever witnessed, and is so impressive on the table that he actually should have more titles to his name.
‘Let me make one thing clear, Ronnie O’Sullivan is the greatest player I’ve ever seen,’ Virgo told the Talking Snooker podcast.
‘I find it absolutely amazing. The fact he can do it with either hand just adds to the mystery of how a man can play the game this well.”
“Ronnie’s the best I’ve ever seen, it’s just incredible.”
Mark Williams was interviewed by WST, and part of it was reported by Eurosport:
Snooker news: ‘Ronnie O’Sullivan is only player I’d pay to watch’ – Mark Williams on why Rocket is the GOAT
Mark Williams has paid tribute to his fellow ‘Class of ’92’ rivals Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins by insisting there is plenty of life left in his fellow multiple world champions. The new British Open champion also insists O’Sullivan is the undisputed greatest player of all time and the only man playing the game he’d pay money to watch.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the undisputed greatest player of all time and the only fellow snooker professional three-times world champion Mark Williams would pay money to watch.
Williams has made an impressive start to the new campaign by lifting the British Open title in August, but expects record 37-times ranking event winner O’Sullivan to get back into the winning habit after enduring a rare trophyless campaign last term.
O’Sullivan reached five finals last season and is ranked at three in the world ahead of next month’s Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport.
“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Williams.
I’ve played with him since I was 10 and he’s still going like myself. He’s probably the only snooker player I’d pay to watch.
Williams will celebrate his 30th year as a professional alongside his great rivals O’Sullivan and John Higgins in January and does not expect those green baize icons to be slowing down in the chase for further glory.
With 13 world titles between them since 1998, they have won over half the Crucible titles in the past 23 years.
“The players coming through aren’t good enough to knock us off our perch, if you want to put it that way“, said Williams on WST.
“We also had a lot of grounding growing up, but these youngsters have no decent amateur tournaments to play in really. They are just turning professional, coming up against the top players and getting beaten. We had really good grounding. There were tournaments everywhere. U18, U21s..every weekend there was something.”
“That has something to do with our longevity. The other reason could be is that the other players just aren’t good enough to knock, especially Higgins and O’Sullivan, off their perch.”
That pair could be at the top of the rankings for however long they want to be. There is no question.
“It is just about how much work they want to put in to stay up there.”
At the age of 46, Williams has his own targets for the new campaign and the world number eight believes he has the ability to remain at the top of the game.
“I think if I dedicated myself to it, I know I could get right up to the top of the rankings,” added the Welshman, world champion in 2000, 2003 and 2018 in a show of astonishing longevity. Maybe not number one, but I could get close to it.”
“But I’m not prepared to do what I have to do to get as high as that. I’ll do two hours a day rather than worry about winning tournaments and just enjoy it.”
I’m saying now I’ll not play six or seven hours a day, but that could change. In six months’ time, I could say I’m back playing nine or ten hours a day….
John Virgo still thinks Ronnie has underachieved… well, strictly in terms of pure talent maybe, but Ronnie had to fight some severe mental health issues from a young age – depression, addictions, huge and sudden mood swings – and he had to do it under difficult circumstances (father and mother jailed), under constant scrutiny from the media, and he had to cope whith massive expectations at the same time, the fans’ and his own. There were highs and lows of course, but overall he has coped very well considering, and he has done it for nearly 30 years. It takes a lot of strength and courage to do that. Underachiever? Really? … I don’t think so.
As for Willo … no mention of Judd Trump? 🤔😉 He won’t be pleased you know? 😇