Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he never believed he would win a seventh world title as he spoke about his emotional embrace with Judd Trump at the end of a thrilling final.
O’Sullivan was overcome with emotion after securing a 18-13 triumph at the Crucible and shared a special hug with Trump, with the pair pictured speaking at close quarters for over a minute.
The 46-year-old, who became the oldest player to lift the trophy in snooker’s greatest theatre, then had a second wave of tears as his children arrived on the scene to celebrate.
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Speaking in the Eurosport studio immediately after the match, O’Sullivan was blown away by what Trump said to him during their embrace.
“I was so emotional. To finally get over the line, I just thought it would never happen,” he said.
“I gave him a big hug and I was just sobbing in his arms. And he said such lovely words.
“What he said to me blew me away to be honest. It just blew me away. I love Judd. I love him, he’s a great lad, and I didn’t realise what he thought of me until then.
“Different respect there, you know. I didn’t realise how he sees me and how I’ve been part of his development.
"It’s great for snooker that we’ve got someone like Judd, playing the way he plays. There’s a couple more coming through [Zhao] Xintong, it’s going to be brilliant.
"That’s my best result ever I think."
When asked if it was the nicest moment he had experienced in the Crucible, O’Sullivan replied: “Without a doubt. What he said, Judd, just done me in! Honestly.”
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Monday was billed as O’Sullivan’s coronation after he sailed into a 12-5 lead on Sunday, but a nightmare third session saw Trump close the gap to 14-11 and begin dreaming of writing his own Crucible legend.
And O'Sullivan admits that he was close to cracking under fierce examination from Trump.
"That was torture. It's so hard mentally to play. Every match was tough," he said on a bruising fortnight.
On Trump, he continued: "It's his time. I know he lost today, but he's an unbelievable player, unbelievable competitor. Never gave in at all.
"I just thought, 'I don't know if I've got it in me'. I was so tired and I was saying 'just hold it together' because little lapses can cost you three or four frames. 'Hold it together, hold it together' - and that's all I was doing and just hoping my game was alright.
"If I didn't hold it together, I would have had no game. So it was tough. Very, very tough."
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