Anthony Hamilton has described Ronnie O’Sullivan as “mad as cheese” but says watching him play is akin to looking at an artist at work.
O’Sullivan is a six-time world champion and has more centuries than any other player in the history of the sport.
Hamilton has fond memories of facing O’Sullivan in matches and practice, and has a huge amount of respect and admiration for a player he feels is the best to have played the game.
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"It’s such an obvious answer that I think the question is already a moot point,” Hamilton said on the Talking Snooker podcast when asked who is the best player of all time. "It’s Ronnie.”
While he feels O’Sullivan is the sport’s number one, he believes Stephen Hendry - who made his return to the game after nine years in retirement at the recent Gibraltar Open - runs a close second.
‘I think it’s closer than a lot of people think,” Hamilton said. “I don’t like the way everyone is forgetting about Hendry a bit. They forget how good Hendry was.
"It’s not what Ronnie does, it’s the way he does it. It’s not like sport, it’s like art.”
O’Sullivan has a huge fan base, with many supporters drawn to him on account of his flamboyant nature.
Hamilton is amazed how O’Sullivan is able to hold things together on the table, as he says his antics are not an act.
“He’s absolutely mad as cheese, you know that don’t you?” Hamilton said. “He’s absolutely mental, Ronnie. He’s not putting it on, he’s a lunatic.
For him to adhere to the snooker world and be semi-normal is a miracle, to be honest. Anything can happen with Ronnie.
As well as being an outstanding player, Hamilton is impressed with how O’Sullivan handles himself at the table.
“He’s a gentleman, Ronnie, when he’s playing snooker,” Hamilton said. “He’s got his ways off the table, but when he’s playing snooker he’s a gentleman to practice against.
“He loves snooker, loves the sport, loves the ethics of the sport and it was a pleasure to spend time with him on the table.
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"He’s a voracious competitor but a gentleman at the same time. He says a few things here and there just to wind people up, but I think, as a snooker player, we’ve got nothing but respect for him.”
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