Ronnie O'Sullivan piled the pressure on Judd Trump and told the world No.1 – if you don’t win 70 ranking events, you’ve underachieved, writes Will Jennings.
The six-time world champion has watched from the shadows this season as Trump romped to English Open, Northern Ireland Open and World Grand Prix glory.
That 2020-21 hat-trick took the ‘Juddernaut’ to 20 ranking event titles but O’Sullivan, who is yet to taste silverware this season, still stands tall on a record 37.
Trump was forced to withdraw from the Masters after a positive coronavirus test but the Rocket, who will shoot for an eighth tournament title in Milton Keynes, told him it’s time to cash in once he gets back on the baize.
The 45-year-old said: “With the amount of tournaments that are around today, I think [Judd’s] got to be looking at 60 to 70 ranking event titles.
“When [Stephen] Hendry was doing it and I was doing it, we might have played ten ranking events, but I think Judd is playing 20 ranking events [a season].
“If Hendry did 36 ranking events and I did 37, you’d probably have to say he’s got to be looking to at least make 60 or 65. If he was to get to 70 or 75 then pro rata, you’d have to say that’s the greatest record of all-time.
“You can only go on averages now, because there are so many more ranking events than there were before. If you’ve only got ten ranking events to play, if you won two or three, that was good. Now, if you’ve got 20, the new two and three is probably four, five and six ranking events in a year.
“The only thing in snooker that’s constant are the three majors. You’d probably want to be looking at getting to maybe [Steve] Davis’ level, or Hendry’s – 15, 16, 17, 18 majors. Obviously, the icing on the cake would be to beat my record of 20, which he’s capable of.”
Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski have tested positive for COVID-19
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 9, 2021
Trump, 31, soared to a record six ranking event titles last season but watched O’Sullivan, a 20-time combined winner of the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters, scoop the big one at the Crucible in the summer.
The world No.3 captured hearts with a sixth World Championship crown after defending champion Trump was dumped out by eventual finalist Kyren Wilson in the last eight.
The Bristol potter is one of the few players to boast a positive record against O’Sullivan, beating him on 15 of the 28 occasions they’ve done battle on the baize.
O’Sullivan enjoyed a similar level of potting dominance back in 2012 but has admitted to feeling fed up with having to ‘live out of a suitcase’.
Unlike O’Sullivan, Trump is yet to start a family and the Rocket reckons maintaining a sole focus on snooker can keep him lifting trophies long into the future.
“He’s the all-round player and he said it the other day – ‘I can’t get any better and I just want to try and maintain this for as long as I can’,” added O’Sullivan, who will take on 2011 Masters champion Ding Junhui in his first round match next week.
“You get to that point where you think ‘I can’t get any better and I just have to manage my schedule’.
“I probably didn’t manage that – I had a lot of distractions off the table which robbed me of seven, eight or nine years where I couldn’t focus totally on snooker.
“If you’re enjoying it, then it’s fine. For me, it was more like I had kids and a family and after being on the road for so long, I just felt bad and thought ‘I really need to be home with them.’
“Unless you’ve got that, then why not live out of a suitcase? Why not travel from tournament to tournament? You’re getting paid well and you’re loving what you’re doing.”
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