Ronnie O’Sullivan believes Neil Robertson will never reach the heights of John Higgins but says the Australian will be World Champion again in the near future.
Robertson was installed as tournament favourite following the shock early exit of O’Sullivan, but was beaten 13-10 by Higgins in the Quarter-Finals on Wednesday.
Victory would have seen Robertson remain on course for a fifth consecutive ranking final appearance, but it was the granite Scot who moved through to his tenth Crucible semi.
O’Sullivan, speaking as a pundit for Eurosport, was full of praise for his fellow ‘Class of 92’ graduate Higgins, placing him alongside Stephen Hendry in the list of all-time greats.
“Neil Robertson is a fantastic player, but he’ll never be a John Higgins,” said O’Sullivan.
“They make a John Higgins every 50 years. Hendry came along then there was Higgins.
“We might have to wait another 20-30 years for a player of that quality.
“I’m yet to see any.
“For me, they are the two most outstanding snooker players I’ve ever seen.”
Robertson blasted the table conditions following his defeat to Higgins, bringing the curtain down on an otherwise magnificent season which saw him claim the Welsh Open and China Open titles.
O’Sullivan, who defeated Robertson in two finals during the season, believes the Australian will bounce back and add to the maiden world title he picked up in 2010.
He added: “I’m gutted for him because he’s one of the guys you would be happy to see as World Champion.
“It’s just unfortunate but I think that’s why it’s very dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket and say it’s all about the World Championship.
“There’s so many great tournaments and every tournament should be treated like the World Championship – a win’s a win.
“I heard John Higgins say one day “it doesn’t matter what final it is, I just love playing” and I think that’s the attitude that Gary Wilson and Dave Gilbert have.
“This is a bonus, there can only be one World Champion, there’s 128 players, so putting all your eggs in one basket is a dangerous way to look at it.
“I think Neil needs to look at his season and go ‘I’ve had a fantastic season’, he’s reached the last four finals and it’s been a successful year.
“The Crucible is something you need to build on, once you start getting good runs there, your time comes and I think he can build on this next season.
“I think he will definitely be a World Champion again before the end of his career.”