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Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Judd Trump to equal Stephen Hendry’s record seven World Championship titles


Ronnie O’Sullivan held off Judd Trump’s stirring comeback to win a record-equalling seventh World Snooker Championship to cement his status as the greatest player the game has ever seen.

O’Sullivan pulled level with Stephen Hendry’s Crucible crowns after bossing last night’s final session to win an undulating, gripping match 18-13.

The 46-year-old, who is now the oldest champion in Crucible history, has dominated and transcended the sport for over two decades. 

This triumph adds to world titles won in in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2020. He also has seven Masters titles and seven UK Championships to boot.

He was handed a £500,000 winner’s cheque after his victory last night, whilst Trump received a £200,000 runner’s up prize. 

Snooker icon Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Judd Trump to win a record-equalling seventh world title

Snooker icon Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Judd Trump to win a record-equalling seventh world title

O'Sullivan, who is arguably the greatest snooker player of all time, pulled level with Stephen Hendry's Crucible crowns and is the oldest person to ever win a World Championship at 46

O’Sullivan, who is arguably the greatest snooker player of all time, pulled level with Stephen Hendry’s Crucible crowns and is the oldest person to ever win a World Championship at 46

The 46-year-old gave Trump a huge hug immediately after the final frame at the Crucible

The 46-year-old gave Trump a huge hug immediately after the final frame at the Crucible

This triumph adds to world titles won in in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2020

This triumph adds to world titles won in in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2020

Once again, he played down the significance of matching Hendry. ‘I’m never bothered about records,’ O’Sullivan told the BBC.

‘I just try to enjoy what I do and work hard at my game. This 17 days the snooker gods were on my side.’ After victory, he embraced Trump for over a minute and then hugged his teenager children Lily and Ronnie Jr.

Also present was his father, 67, who is also called Ronnie. 

O’Sullivan Sr was jailed for murder when his son was aged just 16 after he stabbed a man to death in a Chelsea nightclub. 

Snooker’s new champion O’Sullivan paid tribute to his opponent, saying: ‘As far as I’m concerned this fella is already an all-time great.

‘That’s probably the greatest result I’ve ever had against someone like Judd.’

The champion added: ‘I didn’t really feel like the favourite to win,’ 

‘I doubted myself a little bit, so to finally get a result like I did is special.

‘I’ve grown up with Judd, we’ve shared a lot of time on the practice tables so to hear the words he said to me afterwards, I didn’t realise what that meant to him. 

‘It was nice to hear I was part of his development and it was a special moment – he choked me up.’

Finals do not always live up to their billing. 

After a high-quality opening session, which featured a ruckus with the Belgian referee, O’Sullivan’s Saturday night dominance threatened to turn this into a walkover.

But an inspired afternoon session from Trump changed all that. He roared back from 12-5 down and headed into the final session only three frames adrift at 14-11.

O'Sullivan hugs his children Lily (right) and Ronnie Jr (left) before receiving the trophy

O’Sullivan hugs his children Lily (right) and Ronnie Jr (left) before receiving the trophy

Family together: O'Sullivan is seen with his father Ronnie Sr (far left), daughter Lily, son Ronnie Jr (right) and Fred Done, the owner of Betfred

Family together: O’Sullivan is seen with his father Ronnie Sr (far left), daughter Lily, son Ronnie Jr (right) and Fred Done, the owner of Betfred

O'Sullivan embraces his son Ronnie Jr and daughter Lily after beating Judd Trump to win his seventh World Snooker Championship title

O’Sullivan embraces his son Ronnie Jr and daughter Lily after beating Judd Trump to win his seventh World Snooker Championship title

O'Sullivan poses with his trophy flanked by his daughter Lily and son Ronnie Jr after being Judd Trump by 18 frames to 13

O’Sullivan poses with his trophy flanked by his daughter Lily and son Ronnie Jr after being Judd Trump by 18 frames to 13

‘I was happy to make a match out of it this afternoon,’ said Trump. ‘It was a joy for me to be out there playing. I’m just enjoying my snooker again.

‘I think I was wrong when I said it should move from here – it definitely should stay at the Crucible,’ he added.’ Wobbles and misfortune are expected in sport. The response to them is what matters.

After a conversation with Dr Steve Peters, O’Sullivan was back in champion mode when he returned yesterday evening.

With the cue ball at his mercy, he won the opening two frames with breaks of 82 and 88. Hawkish and harrying, referee Olivier Marteel could not replace the balls fast enough for his snooker brain and body.

Trump counterpunched, snatching the next at one visit. But his decision to attempt a double on a red when safety was the better option cost him dear. O’Sullivan rattled off a 75 break and skipped into the mid-session interval a frame away from history.

O'Sullivan capitalised upon a series of misses by Trump on a run of seven frames out of nine

O’Sullivan capitalised upon a series of misses by Trump on a run of seven frames out of nine

Trump made it 13-10 at one point but O'Sullivan took the first two evening frames in his victory

Trump made it 13-10 at one point but O’Sullivan took the first two evening frames in his victory

Trump delayed the inevitable with a century in the 30th frame – a record 109th for the tournament – but O’Sullivan ensured immortality with a break of 85.

Earlier in the day, the crowd in the claustrophobic arena were conflicted. They were here to see a contest, but most were boisterously behind O’Sullivan.

Backstage, there were whispers of Dennis Taylor and the greatest Crucible comeback of all, with the Northern Irishman beating Steve Davis in 1985 after roaring back from 8-0 down.

For that to happen, Trump needed to win the session’s first frame. After entering to a cacophonous din, he did so for the third time of the final. And it came in style – a 107 break, his first century of the final.

Energised and newly confident, Trump won the session 6-2. It was the first O’Sullivan had lost in the tournament.

An emotional O'Sullivan reacts after winning his seventh world title on Monday night

An emotional O’Sullivan reacts after winning his seventh world title on Monday night

A teary-eyed O'Sullivan wipes his face as he takes in his monumental achievement

A teary-eyed O’Sullivan wipes his face as he takes in his monumental achievement

Lily O'Sullivan, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ronnie O'Sullivan Junior (left-right) celebrate with the trophy during day seventeen of the Betfred World Snooker Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield

Lily O’Sullivan, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ronnie O’Sullivan Junior (left-right) celebrate with the trophy during day seventeen of the Betfred World Snooker Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield

Ronnie O'Sullivan of England celebrates with the trophy after winning the final match against Judd Trump of England on day 17 of the Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 at Crucible Theatre on May 2, 2022 in Sheffield, England

Ronnie O’Sullivan of England celebrates with the trophy after winning the final match against Judd Trump of England on day 17 of the Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 at Crucible Theatre on May 2, 2022 in Sheffield, England

England's Ronnie O'Sullivan after beating England's Judd Trump during day seventeen of the Betfred World Snooker Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield

England’s Ronnie O’Sullivan after beating England’s Judd Trump during day seventeen of the Betfred World Snooker Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield

O Sullivan is seen speaking to the media alongside his trophy after winning the World Snooker Championship for a seventh time

O Sullivan is seen speaking to the media alongside his trophy after winning the World Snooker Championship for a seventh time

O'Sullivan poses with his trophy in front of the audience at the Crucible in Sheffield. The snooker player is widely regarded as the greatest of all time

O’Sullivan poses with his trophy in front of the audience at the Crucible in Sheffield. The snooker player is widely regarded as the greatest of all time 

O'Sullivan was seen in tears after sharing warm words with his opponent Judd Trump, who also publicly praised the older player

O’Sullivan was seen in tears after sharing warm words with his opponent Judd Trump, who also publicly praised the older player

Never too old: O'Sullivan is now snooker's oldest ever championship winner after triumphing over Trump. The previous record was set by then 45-year-old Ray Reardon in 1978

Never too old: O’Sullivan is now snooker’s oldest ever championship winner after triumphing over Trump. The previous record was set by then 45-year-old Ray Reardon in 1978

All of this was punctuated by the usual tics and twitches from O’Sullivan, who this year has added asking the referee to clean balls and adjusting his underpants to his repertoire.

Fastidiously sweeping the table, grimacing and chalking his cue, he is a compelling watch on and off the table.

World Snooker Tour officials have confirmed they will take no further action after Marteel issued O’Sullivan a formal warning for a lewd gesture in the eighth frame, which O’Sullivan vehemently denied, doubling down on his affront in a subsequent television interview. 

Trump is altogether less animated but no less fascinating.

The pair have been the dominant players at the Crucible in the last four years. Trump has won 203 frames in that spell to O’Sullivan’s 172. 

They lead the likes of Mark Selby (166), John Higgins (147) and Mark Williams (130).

The sporting world will hope this final is not their last. 

With the chance for O’Sullivan to overtake Hendry – and Trump’s determination to win multiple titles to his 2019 triumph – do not rule it out.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Dr Peters revealed how he helped to persuade O’Sullivan not to quit the sport when he was previously doubting his abilities and struggling with his mental health. 

He said: ‘I explored what he was thinking and whether it was rational and whether he was factually based. 

‘And more importantly explored what he wanted to do and what his plans would be and what would make him happy, which is what he asked me to help him to be, just be happy playing his sport. 

‘What he has done is he has learnt to understand himself and got insights into the way that his mind is functioning. But he is a very driven man. 

Family affair: Ronnie Sr made millions running sex shops in Soho but was imprisoned for murder in 1992, being released in 2010 (pictured with Ronnie)

Family affair: Ronnie Sr made millions running sex shops in Soho but was imprisoned for murder in 1992, being released in 2010 (pictured with Ronnie)

‘He is very hard-working and committed and goes into great detail. So when we do work together he wants to understand and he wants to acquire these skills, and that he has done.’ 

Reacting to O’Sullivan’s embrace with his rival after the match, Dr Peters added: ‘He is a very emotional man Ronnie. 

‘He is a great character and I think Judd made some very positive comments towards him and that was quite overwhelming to him because he hadn’t really realised, because obviously these are rivals, although they are very friendly.’

Asked if his ‘work is done’, he said: ‘Definitely not! He is forever learning. For all of us, we continually learn and life is very organic in the way that we approach it so it has its own life. 

‘I think he meets different circumstances and one of them as you say is that he is now the oldest and most successful snooker player and we want to keep breaking those records so it is new territory, so it is new ideas as well.’

O’Sullivan’s father made money running sex shops in London’s Soho before he was jailed for the brutal stabbing of Bruce Bryan, a driver to gangster Charlie Kray.

Then aged 37, O’Sullivan Sr had been drinking with a friend in 1991 when he went ‘looking for trouble’ before setting upon  Mr Bryan and his brother Kelvin. 

Pulling out a six-inch knife, O’Sullivan Sr then stabbed Bryan to death. 

‘It was like a horror movie,’ Kelvin said later. ‘He turned on Bruce and began stabbing and slashing at him with a huge knife. My brother had his arms up as protection but O’Sullivan was in a frenzy.’ 

Although there were allegations that O’Sullivan Sr had also hurled racist abuse at the two black men, the older man has always argued the attack was not racially motivated. 

His son has stood by him and insisted that his father has ‘never been a trouble maker’. O’Sullivan Sr was released in prison in 2010 after serving 18 years behind bars.  

O’Sullivan’s Italian-born mother was also jailed for a year for tax evasion when the player was aged just 19, meaning that both his parents were briefly in prison at the same time. 

O’Sullivan dedicated his first three world championship titles to his father. 



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