Exclusive: O’Sullivan weighs in on Selby Snooker GOAT debate

Ronnie O’Sullivan has weighed in on the snooker greatest of all time debate and where Mark Selby would rank should he overcome Luca Brecel in the World Championship final.

A victory for Selby would see the world No.2 win the title for a fifth time in what is his sixth appearance in the showpiece match.

His long-time adversary, O’Sullivan believes that a win would not be enough to propel Selby to top spot in that illustrious list.

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He told Eurosport: “It puts him in there with (Alex) Higgins. For me, I still think (Stephen) Hendry is the greatest of all time, followed by (Steve) Davis. He’s closely following Davis I’d say.”

When asked about changing the narrative behind securing an eighth world title, he then added: “That’s me just trying to change the conversation sometimes, I just get so bored answering that question. Obviously, I have to answer it.

“Hendry was just determined to win as many tournaments as he could. I was just happy to win one and grateful for that.

“Other people have a different mindset. I’m not sure what Mark Selby’s mindset is. If he’s hellbent on getting eight or nine and that’s what drives him, then great.

“But that would scare me and make me not ever want to pick up a cue again if I set myself a target like that. But as I said, everyone’s different.”

Victory is far from a foregone conclusion for Selby though, and Brecel has staked a huge claim to record a surprise win after a stellar run.

The Belgian has beaten Ricky Walden, Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Si Jiahui on his way to the final having previously never won a match at the Crucible prior to 2023.

His semi-final win over Si created history, after he became the first player in Crucible history to recover from nine frames down to win a match.

Speaking to Eurosport, Brecel said: “I think I’m ready for it. It is difficult and it’s going to be a mind game. If I stay focused the whole game then I’m going to have a chance, but if I lose focus, he’s going to run away with it.

“For me, it’s completely new, but he has been here so many times before. I’m going to be the underdog, but I’ve been the underdog in nearly every game I’ve played in this tournament so I’m looking forward to it.”

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