Mark Selby has paid tribute to the “incredible” Ronnie O’Sullivan and made it clear he believes the Rocket is “the greatest player to ever play our game”.
The four-time world champion was appearing on the World Snooker Tour podcast and was asked about O’Sullivan being an inspiration for all he has achieved in the sport.
For the 39-year-old from Leicester, there is no doubt that O’Sullivan is the greatest player snooker has ever seen and he highlighted his “hunger” in addition to his unquestioned natural talents.
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“To still be playing the standard he’s playing is incredible at his age, and to still be at the top of the game as world champion is incredible,” said Selby.
“The biggest thing for me is the hunger and you need to stay healthy as well. When you get older the hunger can go a little bit, you don’t put so many hours in and you can’t cheat this game, put a couple of hours in here and there and expect to win big tournaments.
“The hunger is still there at the moment and I’m healthy. As long as I maintain that aspect then who knows?
“When you look at someone like Ronnie, that’s inspired me knowing he’s 46 and I’ve got seven years on him to keep playing and know I’m capable of winning more tournaments so fingers crossed.”
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Asked about his own ambitions when it comes to winning a fifth World Championship at the Crucible, Selby was unequivocal about his burning desire to add another to his hugely-impressive tally.
“I would like to win it once more,” he said. “As it stands at the moment, I’m tied with [John] Higgins on four, obviously [Mark] Williams is on three.
“It would be good to try and win it once more and be out on my own on five. Obviously, you’ve got Ronnie and [Stephen] Hendry on seven, [Steve] Davis on six, so to be out there on my own on five would be good.
“But to win it four times is more than I ever expected as a young lad growing up, obviously, I aimed to try to win it once, so to win it four times is incredible.
“I’ll keep trying, as long as I’m healthy and mentally okay. For me, that’s like winning the World Championship. While I’m in a good place, as long as I can keep enjoying it and giving it a good go then who knows?
“It’s a great honour to be put up there with the players who people class as the all-time greats, but I don’t really see it like that,” he added. “I just see myself as the young lad who grew up on a council estate.
“I didn’t have much money – my trousers didn’t fit me during my first year on the tour. I still feel as if I am the same person and hopefully everyone else thinks I’m the same.
“I don’t feel I have changed that much, regardless of how much I have won. When I retire and look back, it might hit home more, but while I am still competing I don’t class myself as an all-time great, I just want to win as many tournaments as I can.”
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