I can get even better, warns perfectionist Rocket

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN sent a shiver down the spine of his opponents after winning his third 888.com World Championship final by insisting: “I can get even better”.

The Rocket has been in awesome form during the past fortnight particularly in his destruction of seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry 17-6 in the semi-finals.

And the 32-year-old, the oldest winner of the title since Joe Johnson in 1986, still demolished Ali Carter 18-8 in the final despite failing to fire on all cylinders.

O’Sullivan has become the fourth player to win the UK Championship and world titles in the same season and the first to regain the number one spot in the rankings for a third time.

But he is still striving for snooker perfection and would hang up his cue if he felt there was no room for improvement.

O’Sullivan said: “You’ve seen me hit form a few times this season, like against Stephen Maguire in the UK Championships. I’ve played a few good matches. I’ve been consistent.

“I wasn’t totally happy with every performance I put in and you always have to work at your game. Tiger Woods and Roger Federer and people like that are always looking for that consistency to take the game to the next level.

“They can’t get any better but you are just looking for that consistency so you can just grind your opponents down.

“It was fantastic to win this tournament, fantastic to be number one, fantastic to have won the UK. I’ve had a fantastic season. I’ve really enjoyed my snooker and ideally I’d love to keep playing.

“I want to be so perfect at this game. When I play like I did against Stephen Hendry, I think ‘yes’ – and then I have a struggle in the final and it seems like a bit of an anti-climax. The final seemed like the semi-final.’’

O’Sullivan admitted a couple of technical changes have helped him to maintain consistency even if he is not playing to his maximum ability.

He said: “The secret of the success has been the consistency factor. I changed a couple of things technically and I am not flying as much and there is more of a balance there.

“My bad games are not as bad and nearer to my good games and that is how I won this championship.’’

O’Sullivan admits the age factor could come into his equation as he strives to add more world titles and admits keeping super fit via his love of running is a help.

He said: “It is nice to have got the third title. I would like to think I can win a few more but there are a lot of young quality players out there champing at the bit and the game has changed.

“These players put pressure on you if you are not on your game. You let them get their hands on the table and they can pot balls from anywhere.

“For example, Ali Carter is a better long potter than me but I just managed to win the safety exchanges and score. I’ve always got that in my armoury and know there are improvements to be made in my long game as well.”

Meanwhile Ireland’s former world champion Ken Doherty, has said O’Sullivan is probably the most talented player ever.

“He certainly is snooker’s talisman, he is snooker’s Tiger Woods,” said Doherty.

Speaking on Newstalk, Doherty, who has crashed out of snooker’s top 16, added: “You never know what you’re going to get. He’s like Alex Higgins 20 years ago.”

Doherty himself will have to qualify to gain entry to the world championship next year: “It’s going to be a new experience for me but I still have the hunger and still have the love of the game.”

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