Ronnie O'Sullivan has said he believes the late Alex Higgins was "the greatest snooker player" he has seen when he was at his best.
The Rocket saw his hoodoo at the Northern Ireland Open continue as he crashed out in the last 16 to Yan Bingtao, but he spoke to Eurosport at the tournament on a number of subjects.
O'Sullivan, who is yet to win the title in Belfast having finished runner-up in the last three editions to Judd Trump, bowed out to Masters champion Yan 4-3.
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Asked who he considers to be the most gifted players that he has come up against, O'Sullivan highlighted two very well-known stars.
"There are a lot of gifted players that have not done that well," O'Sullivan told Eurosport.
"I think the most gifted players I've played against were [Stephen] Hendry and [Judd] Trump."

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When asked who would be his ideal doubles partner, O'Sullivan said: "If he could come back again it would be Alex Higgins.
"I watch a lot of Youtube stuff. I only watch snooker from 1990 going backwards, so back to the '70s, just for nostalgic reasons. I've been watching a lot of Alex Higgins and I didn't realise how good he was.
"If he could have been half as consistent as [Steve] Davis was, he would have been the greatest player we've ever seen. But obviously his lifestyle and the way he kind of did things, it didn't allow him to.
But for me, I think Alex Higgins was probably the greatest snooker player I've ever seen when he was at his best. His best would have been better than anyone else's best.
O’Sullivan also named Ayrton Senna and Muhammad Ali as the two greatest sportspeople of all time, as we revealed in a previous article.
"Can I pick two? I’m going to go for Muhammad Ali and Ayrton Senna as my two favourite sportspeople of all time.”

The moment Yan knocked out O'Sullivan

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Stream the Northern Ireland Open live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.
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