Ronnie O’Sullivan “will go down as the best player of all time” following his record-equalling seventh Crucible title, according to beaten finalist Judd Trump.
The Rocket moved level with Stephen Hendry on a magnificent seven World crowns after defeating Trump 18-13 in the final on Monday.
Despite holding a 12-5 advantage – his biggest overnight lead in eight Crucible showpieces – O’Sullivan was pegged back to 14-11 by a resilient Trump.
The 2019 World champion, who looked fatigued during the opening two sessions following his epic semi-final victory over Mark Williams, rallied with breaks of 107 and 105 as he won six of the first eight frames on Monday.
But there was no stopping the 46-year-old, who had runs of 82, 88, 75 and 85 on the way to becoming the oldest winner at The Crucible since Ray Reardon in 1978.
After sealing the deal, O’Sullivan and Trump shared an emotional embrace with the latter hailing an “amazing achievement” by his idol.
“I want to say massive congratulations to Ronnie. It’s been a pleasure to share the table with him,” said the Bristolian, who was appearing in his third Crucible final.
“He’s always been so good to me throughout my career; letting me practise with him when I was young, and try to learn things off him.
“[It is an] amazing achievement and [he] will go down as the best player of all time.
“He keeps getting better and better. His determination and dedication; you can see it out there. He barely misses a ball over the 31 frames.
“I think he was the best player throughout the whole tournament by quite far. I was just happy to make a match out of it this afternoon.
“Yesterday, I was quite drained; I wasn’t up for it as much. Today, it came back a little bit, but it was a bit too late.
“It was a joy for me to be out there playing. I tried to play with a smile on my face and freedom; I’m just enjoying my snooker again.”
— Live Snooker (@Livesnooker) May 2, 2022