John Higgins paid tribute to Ronnie O’Sullivan after dominating his Class of 92 rival in the Players Championship final on Sunday.
Higgins made three centuries as he inflicted a 10-3 defeat on O’Sullivan and won his first ranking title in three years.
“I’ve said it before, there’s nobody who’s got more respect in the game than I’ve got for Ronnie. The best ever,” Higgins said in the trophy ceremony on ITV.
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“So to beat the best ever tonight, it’s a brilliant feather in my cap.”
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The 45-year-old produced some scintillating snooker throughout the week at Milton Keynes, including when he restricted Mark Selby to just seven points in a quarter-final whitewash.
“It’s the best week I’ve ever had,” Higgins said.
“I’ve won world titles and different tournaments but for the whole week, the way I’ve felt and the calibre of players I’ve come up against, and I’ve managed to win quite convincingly.
“It’s not really like me to do that. Normally I’ll be scrapping it out in final-frame deciders. But this week, I’ve done a Ronnie this week and come through the field pretty easy. It’s a brilliant feeling.”
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Higgins admits that his drought had left him wondering if he would ever topple the top players again, but will now hope to carry this form into the remainder of the season – and a possible tilt at the world title.
“It’s very pleasing to win. I don’t know what a trophy looks like the last three years so it’s good to get my hands on one again,” he said.
Higgins added: “It’s brilliant to win this and then I know I’m going to the Tour Championship now and then obviously the big one in April.
“If I could repeat that sort of performance, I would fancy my chances.”
The World Snooker Championship, which is LIVE on Eurosport, starts on April 17.
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