Ronnie O’Sullivan has highlighted the rise of Carlos Alcaraz in tennis as an example of how a youngster can suddenly unseat the established order in sport.
The snooker star, currently competing at the Masters, was discussing the future of his sport and whether there will be ‘another Ronnie O’Sullivan’, when he made the comparison with tennis and a possible changing of the guard
Asked by Eurosport’s Rachel Casey where he sees the future of snooker compared to other sports, O’Sullivan pointed to Alcaraz’s development but says timing is important for any youngster to make their name.
You look at tennis, [Novak] Djokovic, [Rafael] Nadal and [Roger] Federer and new players come along, and they didn’t tear up the game like them guys did when they first came along,” said O’Sullivan.
“But I think once Djokovic goes, you’ll see, you’ll forget how good they were and you kind of go ‘who’s the best now?’.
“So there’s the young Spanish kid Alcaraz. Seems like he’s got the pedigree, you know?
“So it’s just about timing. Sometimes, you know, timing has a lot to do with it.”
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Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam when he triumphed at the US Open last summer, propelling him to world No. 1 at the age of just 19.
Asked if there will be another player to compare to himself in snooker’s future, O’Sullivan said it was something he would welcome.
“Don’t know, probably,” he began.
“That’d be great to see. It would be great to see someone come along. I’d like to see it.
“I’d like to be around to witness someone coming in and winning the big events.”
O’Sullivan is chasing a record-extending eighth Masters win at Alexandra Palace and faces Mark Williams in the quarter-finals on Thursday after beating Luca Brecel 6-1 in the first round.
The reigning world champion will have the support of the London crowd and says he is happy to perform in front of his supporters.
“Obviously I’m a local guy. I think that might have something to do with it. Obviously over the years, [I have had] a lot of good tournaments in the Masters. 13 finals, seven wins. So I think yeah, you kind of end up over the years getting that support.
“And I think they see that I’m still trying my hardest at my age. And I think they just, they like it, you know, so it’s nice to put on a decent performance”.
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