Welsh Open 2021 – 'Legend playing junior legend’ – Ronnie O’Sullivan jokes about facing Jimmy White
If you asked any snooker fan to name their favourite players to watch in the history of the sport there’s a pretty good chance that they would name Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White. The pair’s primes didn’t quite overlap in the way fans would have wished but nevertheless any time they play each it is exciting to watch. O'Sullivan was speaking after the 4-0 win over Robbie Williams.
Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Eurosport studio
Published 16/02/2021 at 16:46 GMT | Updated 16/02/2021 at 17:01 GMT
Six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan admitted it is “never enjoyable playing somebody you really like” after he booked his place in the second round of the Welsh Open, where he will face his good friend, and fellow Eurosport pundit, Jimmy White.
O’Sullivan was in brutally efficient form as he dismantled Robbie Williams 4-0 in their first-round clash at the Welsh Open on Tuesday, notching one century break of 122 along the way to go with three half-centuries.
Speaking in the Eurosport studio with Andy Goldstein and White, O’Sullivan said of his performance level, which is always the subject of intense debate: “It’s quite strange I think everybody else is more worried and intrigued by my form than I am in many ways.
“Obviously don’t get bogged down by form and winning tournaments as other players do.”
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O’Sullivan said that he thought the table was playing well and admitted that he is probably playing more tournaments than usual due to the pandemic.
“I do a bit of practice, I like to get out of the house. I don’t like to stay inside all day so for me practice is a good opportunity to get out the door and make something of your day. Obviously there’s not a lot else going on in the world at the moment so [I'm] probably playing more tournaments than I normally would.”
O’Sullivan said he was going running whilst in Wales, as he always tends to do at tournaments, and when Goldstein brought up that the defending world champion would be facing White next round, the Whirlwind quipped: “You couldn’t go running tomorrow and get lost could you?”
'Legend playing junior legend!' - O'Sullivan and White on their match
O’Sullivan grinned and replied: “I’ll go running tomorrow and break my foot and not be able to walk around the table Jim.”
The Rocket continued by heaping praise on White as one of the game’s greatest entertainers, saying: “Listen, if you look at the game and the history of the game there’s only been three or four players who’ve managed to sell tickets and Jimmy has done that as well as anybody. It’s probably only me, Jimmy, Alex Higgins maybe,
“So legend playing junior legend.”
'Delightfully constructed' - Watch the whole of Ronnie's magnificent 122 break
White remembered the first time he played against O’Sullivan, when the latter was still a kid.
“I remember that match, I played him at Blackpool, seen him in tiny bits, heard such good things. He was such a natural ball striker.
“I said to my pal at the time that’s just what snooker needs. He’s entertained us ever since.”