Ronnie O'Sullivan 'never ceases to amaze', while Stephen Hendry taking on Jimmy White in the World Championship qualifiers is a 'great win for snooker', according to Eurosport's Neal Foulds.
O'Sullivan will be targeting a record-equalling seventh world title in Sheffield this year, and Foulds told Sporting Life that he has been surprised to see him become 'Mr Consistency' of late.
The 45-year-old lost in the final of the Tour Championship to an on-fire Neil Robertson, but Foulds still believes that the Rocket has what it takes to claim another famous win at the Crucible.
Key dates and schedule for 2022-23 snooker season as O'Sullivan defends world crown
"Losing in finals is not his style – we’re used to seeing him either get beat early in tournaments or generally go on to win them – but now he’s turned into Mr Consistency," Foulds told Sporting Life.
O’Sullivan never ceases to amaze me, even to this day.
"He might not have had too many complaints about losing to John Higgins in the Players Championship final, or even to Robertson on Sunday, given the way that pair played in those matches, but O'Sullivan has only won one ranking title in two years now, for all that victory did come in the World Championship.
'Why would I?' - Hendry has no regrets over finals wins ahead of White showdown
"By his incredibly high standards, you’d have to say he’s been quiet while evidently still having his game in good shape.
"Can he win in Sheffield? I wouldn’t rule it out, but he has played a lot of snooker this season and that could catch up with him at some point, while I’d be wary of knee-jerk reactions to Robertson’s win with Sheffield in mind.
"He has a big chance, of course, but Higgins looked to have World Championship winner written all over him when cantering to victory at the Players Championship before he came unstuck last week."
Meanwhile, Foulds could not be more excited at the prospect of White taking on Hendry in qualifying on Monday - live on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk - after all their famous battles at the Crucible in years gone by.
'It's amazing!' - Hendry on the longevity of O'Sullivan and Higgins
"The match everyone is talking about is Stephen Hendry against Jimmy White on Monday, which you can watch live on the Eurosport App," he said.
"My first reaction on hearing the draw was amazement. You couldn’t have scripted it any better and I thought Hendry summed it up perfectly when he made reference to all the great World Championship finals the pair have fought out, to now be at rock bottom facing off once again.
It’s a great win for snooker with the interest around the match sure to be high, but there are other factors at play that make the encounter even more significant. For White, there is the very real possibility that this will be his last ever professional match.
- O'Sullivan latest news - The Rocket eyes glory at World Championship
- 'I feel sorry for whoever plays him' – Robertson expects O'Sullivan backlash at Crucible
"Following his good run at the Gibraltar Open, victory over Hendry should be enough to keep him on the tour next year, but defeat might not save him from slipping off. He might not get another tour card from World Snooker this time around and, of all the people he needs to beat in order to add another page to his incredible snooker story, it just had to be Hendry.
"There’s no denying that these two champion players enjoyed a fierce rivalry on the table for a number of years, but make no mistake, there has always been great mutual respect for one another away from the table and never any animosity, now or then.
"Hendry idolised White. White was his hero and it got to the point where Hendry’s manager had to step in and get him to concentrate on himself and his own game. Any notion that the pair didn’t get on was a myth; White was Hendry’s hero and the former is just too good a man to fall out with people."
- - -
Jimmy White v Stephen Hendry and all of the World Championship qualifiers are live and exclusive on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app now for iOS and Android.
World Championship qualifiers to be played over 19 frames
Opinion: O’Sullivan has found a formula for success that can bring more glory
Share this article