As Ronnie O’Sullivan is nominated for the 2022 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Steve Davis reckons he is the most talented sports personality the UK has ever produced.
The Rocket claimed a seventh World Championship title this year, at the age of 46, equalling Stephen Hendry’s Crucible record and pretty much ending the debate over who is the greatest to ever pick up a cue.
Now 47, O’Sullivan is still world number one and has picked up another couple of big titles since Sheffield, winning the Hong Kong Masters and Champion of Champions.
He has done enough to get nominated to win Sports Personality of the Year for the first time in his epic career, although he is far from favourite with the bookmakers to do so.
Six-time world champion Steve Davis clearly appreciates the Rocket’s skill with a cue, but thinks he is not just the greatest ever on the baize, but the best from the UK in any sport…ever!
‘The most talented sports personality the UK has ever produced,’ Davis tweeted.
The Nugget is not the first to make this claim in the snooker world, with O’Sullivan’s former practice partner Anthony Hamilton also rating the Rocket as the UK’s most talented ever.
Asked whether he could imagine Ronnie winning the World Championship 30 years on from their days practicing in the early 1990s, Hamilton told Metro.co.uk: ‘Yeah I probably could, honestly. I imagined he could win it when he was 15 and I imagined he could win it when he was 50.
’15-year-old Ronnie and 50-year-old Ronnie are the same, basically, just the same genius. He’s gone through a bit of a varied storyline of getting to where he is, mentally, but he seems like that’s all under control now.
‘He’s just the best sportsman Britain has had, talent-wise, probably ever. I can’t think of anyone who’s got more talent in whatever sport they do.’
O’Sullivan himself has not quite made the same claim, but having reached the top of the mountain of snooker, he is pretty sure no one else from Britain has conquered their own sport as comprehensively as he has.
‘I can’t think of any other British sportsman that has been as successful as I have,’ he told Eurosport. ‘There probably is one, but I can’t quite think of them. Breaking the majors record and having 21 of those, equalling Stephen Hendry’s seven world titles – I think that resonates with people. And the public have always supported me really, really well.
‘If I can’t win it [SPOTY] at least three or four times with the career I’ve had, then it probably doesn’t matter what I do. But I understand there are other sportspeople that maybe come ahead of me in the popularity stakes…and it’s more of a popularity contest and what type of sport you play.’
SPOTY 2022 Nominees
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