Davis fears Rocket losing power in bid to reach Hendry
WALES – Five-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will find it very tough to overhaul Stephen Hendry’s record of seven titles because opponents are no longer as afraid of “The Rocket” as they once were, former world champion Steve Davis has said.
O’Sullivan lost 13-12 to Barry Hawkins in the last-16 of the World Championship in Sheffield earlier this week, exiting the tournament before the quarter-finals for just the second time in 13 years.
The 40-year-old won his last world title at the Crucible in 2013 and six-time champion Davis said the Briton would find it increasingly harder to add to his tally, although he stopped short of ruling him out of the running completely.
“I don’t think Ronnie is finished at the Crucible, and he can win another world title — but the fear factor he once enjoyed here has gone,” Davis told the Times.
“For him, it is a case of getting in a queue of potential winners, rather than being a shoo-in for the world title. It has made it much, much harder for Ronnie to get to Stephen Hendry’s seven world titles, what has happened the last three years.”
O’Sullivan suffered his first ever World Championship final defeat against Mark Selby in 2014. The following year, he was knocked out by eventual winner Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals.
“The Selby final in 2014 was huge in that regard. He is leaving it very late now to get to that mark, it is definitely odds against and if it was anyone other than Ronnie, I’d probably say ‘no’,” Davis added.
“He is always under such huge pressure. He is expected to win — I had that, and Stephen Hendry had it, you suffer it. “But in a way Ronnie has it harder, because people love him as well, when they wanted us to lose.
“So he has the pressures of being a sort of Jimmy White or Alex Higgins ‘People’s Champion’, as well as the Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry overwhelming favourite. That is a double whammy.” -Reuters