Ronnie O’Sullivan has the most ability but is not the best player ever, believes Tony Knowles


Ronnie O’Sullivan (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan may have more ability than any player in snooker history, and has the game to be unbeatable, but it is John Higgins who is the best all-round player ever, according to Tony Knowles.

The Rocket is regarded by many to be the greatest player ever to pick up a cue, while Stephen Hendry gets some votes in that category thanks to his record seven World Championship titles

Knowles is not alone in placing Higgins at the top of his all-time list, with Graeme Dott recently doing the same, but the star of the 1980s gave his nod as the greatest an interesting caveat.

TK labelled Higgins the best all-round snooker player of all-time, but hands Australian legend, former world billiards champion, Walter Lindrum the mantle of ‘best cueist’ ever.

‘I don’t have Ronnie down as the best ever, but I have him down as the best ability-wise,’ Knowles told Metro.co.uk.

‘John Higgins is top of the list, I have said that for the last 10 years. John Higgins, for me, is the best all-round player there’s ever been.

‘Apart from Walter Lindrum, best ever cueist all-round ever is Walter Lindrum. Hendry’s one of the best break-builders there’s ever been, but not all-round.’

John Higgins won the Players Championship title in style this year (Picture: WST)

A three-time World Championship semi-finalist, Knowles is backing O’Sullivan to win another world crown and equal Hendry’s record of seven – which would further cement him as the GOAT for many people.

The 65-year-old feels the only thing that holds the Rocket back from being ‘unbeatable’ is a lack of control of his own game.

‘I think he will [match Hendry’s World Championship record],’ said Knowles.

‘Ronnie underestimates how good he is, he thinks he has to do this that and the other to win his games and he doesn’t. All he has to do sometimes is sit and wait.

‘He starts playing okay then pushes the boat out a little too much, all he has to do is control his game a little bit better and he’d be unbeatable.

‘He complicates things without working to his strengths. If he worked to his strengths, which he’s got a lot of, he’d be unbeatable on the table.

‘There’s just that area of the game he lets slip away, or that one session and then he doesn’t really want to play or compete. The trouble is in them areas he has to fight and he doesn’t really want to, he just wants to play the way he sees it.’

Knowles is bidding for a return to the main tour through Q School this year, with the first of three events getting underway on Thursday in Sheffield.

The veteran has been keeping a close eye on the game as he attempts a comeback at 65 and knows just how good the top players in the game are as he has been assessing them all.

‘Judd Trump’s come of age in the last couple of years. He’s winning tournaments because he’s a great potter, shot-maker, he gets himself out of trouble,’ said Knowles.

‘He’s still got a bit to learn on the control of the game, where he loses his matches sometimes. He loses that control, but he’s been putting that right in the last few years, playing the right shot at the right time. When he gets into his stride got his timing right, he’s hard to beat.

Tony Knowles in action at the World Seniors this year (Picture: WST)

‘You’ve got to get him off his stride, which some people can do. Selby’s very good at knocking people off their stride. Being able to close the game down.

‘John Higgins, very good at controlling the game. Neil Robertson, a very good all-round long potter, doesn’t make mistakes, plays the right shot, these players are tough.

‘I think Stuart Bingham was the best player at the World Championships, he outplayed Mark Selby. Just one or two slight errors, but in terms of break building, control, he was the best player. Very consistent, very good all round.’


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