Ronnie O’Sullivan is continuing to keep the young guns at bay from snooker’s prestigious trophies and he wants to delay the changing of the guard for as long as possible. The 45-year-old is refusing to hand over his crown – and the same scenario is also occurring in the tennis world.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic continue to dominate the Grand Slam but the likes of Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev are getting ever closer.
Tennnis’ Big Three are coming towards the latter stages of their careers and the eldest, 39-year-old Federer, is expected to be the first to retire.
For the last decade questions have been raised about when the Swiss star will hang up his racket.
And O’Sullivan joked that the 20-time Grand Slam champion is only prolonging his career for one reason.
“Does Federer need to play? Probably not but he probably quite enjoys getting out of the house,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan also mentioned Nadal and Serena Williams when explaining how he has had to alter his game to keep up with the youngsters.
“Running first, food second and pitch up and playing a bit of snooker,” he added. “If I can’t enjoy it now, then I don’t know why I would be playing.
“I can’t compete with the younger players. They pot too good and have a lot of cue power.
“It is like tennis, a lot of the older players like Serena Williams, Federer, Nadal. You have these young guys coming so they are not going to have it their own way as much, so you have to adapt.”
O’Sullivan is in action at the Welsh Open this week and he has a record of 12-0 from his opening three matches.
“It was nice,” O’Sullivan said. “I’ve changed my technique a bit as I wasn’t able to manoeuvre the white.
“Was I happy to accept playing solid stuff that I did not think was good enough to win events? So I went back to the way I was playing 2011 to 2017 – a bit inconsistent but when it was good it was decent.
“I would rather have a few good tournaments than a load of mediocre ones.
“My cueball is better and I am able to manufacture breaks.
“I am never going to compete with these young kids at long putting and safety, and youth, so I have to play to my strengths and it is trying to be creative.
“I had seven years where I was striking it solid, scoring heavy and winning a lot of tournaments.”