May 7, 2013

The World’s Greatest?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:03 am
He came. He saw. He scurried off with the trophy.

He came. He saw. He scurried off with the trophy.

It’s the morning after the night before and newspapers and internet sporting based sites are awash with images of Ronnie with the World Championship trophy which he came back to defend successfully last night in true champions fashion.

Amid the talk of burnout and slipping standards, the one player that can still ignite the sport to new levels did his thing. He’d had a year off, he got a bit bored, put a bit of practice in and came back to claim his trophy. In the process he made Simon Bedford a great pub quiz answer in the not so very distant future.

Is he the greatest player the sport has ever seen? Yes, of course he is. He may well even go on to better the seven world titles of the only player that could challenge for this title and seal all arguments that way, he doesn’t need to in my opinion but I would not bet against him doing just that.

Where does this achievement rank in snooker? Well, it’s never happened before so it’s out there on it’s own. I didn’t actually think that lack of match practice was ever going to be a problem for him once he’d negotiated the first round and it wasn’t, but in the great scheme of things it has to rank up there with one of the great sporting comebacks.

Does his win prove that the standards overall have dipped? Well, no it doesn’t really, although I think it’s more or less accepted that they have. Ronnie is the best player in the world at the moment and he proved it again. OK, some of the big names most notably Selby and Robertson just didn’t turn up but the championship was still won by the best player, which it usually is. I don’t think even if the two players mentioned had played their best they would have beaten him, but the fact that they didn’t will make some question falling standards.

Are there too many tournaments? Yes there are. Players that have chased ranking points and played in everything and done well have arguably suffered as a consequence at the biggest event of them all. But this is nothing that better planning can’t fix for next season when I expect the big guns to be fully prepared having learned their lesson this time. Is it that big a deal to fall down the rankings if your game is in better shape for the main events? Of course it isn’t. The choice is clear and it’s either to play in everything and risk burnout or to select and be at the top of your game in the tournaments you want to target. I know what I’d do if I was a top player and I suspect we’ll see a lot less of the likes of Selby and Robertson in the smaller events next season.

Was this the worst world championship ever? That’s impossible to answer in an objective way. It was good in spurts but suffered through the poor performances of some big names. On the plus side, Ronnie was superb and the championship saw a new light shed on Barry Hawkins who must surely take so much out of his performance in the final which was nothing short of outstanding.

Overall, I enjoyed it and from a betting perspective it was magnificent. OK, it didn’t have the stand out moments that some have had but in the end the only man that can possibly claim that snooker needs him more than he needs snooker put the sport back in the limelight. I think we’ll see him in a few events next season; the UK, the German Masters and The Masters at the very least and he’ll probably be in tip top shape again next year for the Crucible where he has already been installed as a short-priced favourite.

So at the end of a long hard season and only a couple of weeks away from the start of the new one all that’s left to say is well done to Ronnie, he’s a one-off, he’s crackers but he’s bloody brilliant.

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