Judd Trump labelled Ronnie O’Sullivan the best player of all time after the Bristolian fell to an 18-13 defeat at the hands of the now seven-time champion at the Crucible.
And Trump – a world champion in 2019 – had an ominous warning for the rest of the tour, telling them the 46-year-old is only getting better.
“Ronnie has been a pleasure to share the table with,” began Trump during his post-final interview.
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“He's always been so good to me throughout my career. Let me practise with him when I was young to try and learn things off him. [This is] an amazing achievement, and he will go down as the best player of all time.”
Asked to sum up O’Sullivan’s achievement, Trump paid tribute to the Rocket’s determination and dedication, adding that he was not only the best player over the course of the two weeks, but also that he was still improving.
“He just keeps getting better and better,” said Trump. “I think his determination, dedication, you can see out there he barely misses a ball over the 31 frames.
“And I think he was the best player throughout the whole time by quite a distance. And I was just happy to make a sort of a match out of it this afternoon.
Trump added that his marathon semi-final against Mark Williams – where he led at 12-5, trailed 15-16 before prevailing 17-16 - contributed to a lacklustre showing on Sunday, but added that it was a joy to play in the showpiece event.
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“Yesterday I was quite drained and just wasn't sort of up for it as much,” added Trump.
“And, then today, it sort of came back a little bit, but was a bit too late.
“But it was just a joy for me to be out there playing, giving it my all, and I just tried to play with a smile on my face. I am enjoying my snooker again.”
Prior to the tournament, Trump had suggested that the World Championship should move away from the Crucible, but the crowd broke into raptures when he rowed back on that comment.
“I think I was wrong when I said I want it to move from here - I think it definitely should stay,” he said.
O’Sullivan embraced Trump immediately after the win for over a minute.
The Rocket said afterwards in the Eurosport studio that he was overwhelmed by what Trump said to him during the embrace.
“To finally get over the line, I just thought it would never happen,” said O’Sullivan.
“I gave him a big hug and I was just sobbing in his arms. And he said such lovely words."
'I was just sobbing in his arms' – O'Sullivan on Trump embrace
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