World number one Judd Trump says Ronnie O'Sullivan could still be competing for 15 years at the top of snooker - a spell that would take him beyond his 60th birthday.
O'Sullivan begins his World Championship defence against Mark Joyce on Saturday.
The Rocket has lost five finals this season without lifting a trophy, but Trump believes O'Sullivan will still be challenging for top honours for more than a decade.
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"To be honest, I think we’ll still see Ronnie, John Higgins, Mark Williams for the next 5-10 years at least, they’re that far ahead of the chasing pack," Trump told Metro.co.uk as he reflected on snooker's top talent.
"I don’t see, especially Ronnie, how he’s ever going to drop out of the top 16 for the next 10 or 15 years, I just cannot see it.
"The consistency he shows year on year. There’s no way that if he plays anywhere near his best that he won’t be winning a tournament every year or getting close, or winning the World Championship for the next 10 years.
Ronnie O'sullivan of England at the table during the 1997 World Championship held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield
Image credit: Getty Images
"The whole age of snooker is getting older and people will be around a lot longer. The younger players need to get to a far higher standard than they would have in the last 10 years."
While O'Sullivan remains unplayable at his best, the likes of Trump and Neil Robertson could end up favourites at the Crucible given their superior form this season.
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