Snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan likens himself to Novak Djokovic as he explains how they outlast rivals

Novak Djokovic with Wimbledon trophy

Ronnie O’Sullivan believes he is the Novak Djokovic of snooker when it comes to grinding down opponents down once they hit top gear.

Englishman O’Sullivan is the reigning world champion and world No 1 and is an all-time great in his sport having won seven World Snooker Championships. He is also a 21-time Triple Crown winner and holds numerous other records.

“The Rocket” has been at the top of the game for nearly three decades and while he might not always be at his best in every single match, he knows how to make a comeback and get into the mind of his rivals, something which 21-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic is quite good at.

Djokovic has won multiple titles after appearing to be down and out, only to mount miraculous recoveries with his win against Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2019 a case in point as he saved two match points in the fifth set.

In a candid interview, O’Sullivan highlighted what makes himself and Djokovic so good when they are up against it.

“He might go a frame, two frames, three frames, or whatever, but he is going to crumble. Not through any fault of his own: just his game, physically, mentally, it all just comes down,” he said on Eurosport’s The Breakdown podcast.

“It all eventually falls apart for them, do you know what I mean? I just think ‘you can’t keep this up, I can’.

“So it might go 4-4, but then I’ll go 12-4 up. I just think that I’m going to keep playing like that continuously and you’ve had to put everything into that 4-4, but you can’t keep doing that.

“Some days you can try everything and it just doesn’t happen for you. I just look at it over a career and think ‘have I been on top most of the time?’

He added: “I like to think that when I get in that gear and that zone, I become quite strong. “They [his opponents] could not sustain it for longer periods of time so I was able to pull away.

“I play to quite a high level for a lot of the time, which is quite difficult. It is like playing Djokovic at tennis: you might win the first set, nick it 6-4, and you have to give it everything, but then he starts to get into you and you just see them thinking ‘I can’t deal with this fella’.

“It is a bit like that: you know you have got them, but it is a matter of time and you have to just go through the process. You can’t get too confident or cocky, you have just got to go through it.

“It can be tough. Snooker is a tough sport. You are sitting in your chair and a lot of it is out of your control. A lot of the time you are sitting in your chair and you have to process a lot of this dialogue in your head.”