Watch: Ronnie O'Sullivan sizes up the contenders for the World Snooker Championship, including Cambridge's Neil Robertson
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson have contested countless thrilling duels over the years – and the Rocket reckons his rival has the finest cue action of all-time.
Five-time world champion O’Sullivan is well-acquainted with world No 2, having played him 28 times throughout his career at the table and winning on 18 occasions.
The Cambridge-based cueman triumphed in the 2010 World Championships but it is O’Sullivan who has reigned supreme twice since, toppling Robertson in the quarter-final in 2012 on his way to a fourth Crucible glory.
The Rocket came out on top 13-10 that day in Sheffield but believes Robertson, an 18-time ranking event winner, has the finest cueing motion in the history of the sport.
“Neil probably has the best cue action ever, in snooker,” O’Sullivan, 44, said.
“If you look at certain players I think he [Neil] has got such a good cue action - he can strike the ball so well and cleanly, and when he hits form he scores a lot of big breaks.
“I think he has [got the best cue action of all-time] - you’d have to put him in the top two or three, and I can’t think of anyone else who cues the ball as straight, accurately and powerfully as Neil.
“You’d have to say him and John Higgins have got probably the best techniques in the game.
“He’s quite an efficient type of player so he never looks like he’s having to work hard at the game - it all comes quite effortlessly and when you’ve got a cue action like that, the game does tend to come you a lot easier.
“It’s a great asset to have in your game, especially if you’re going to try and produce some consistency and over 17 days at the Crucible, that’s what it’s about.
“That makes him always a threat come the longer format tournaments.”
Robertson has enjoyed a thrilling season on the snooker circuit, winning both the European Masters and World Grand Prix while reaching the final of the German Masters – all in the space of three weeks.
And he reached the last eight of the recent Tour Championship in Milton Keynes behind closed doors, striking two centuries but eventually losing 9-5 against overall winner Stephen Maguire.
O’Sullivan knows snooker players need brains to supplement brawn and says while Robertson’s mental resolve could be better, he has what it takes to steal his own Thunder.
“He’s good under pressure - I wouldn’t say he’s the best under pressure but he’s good,” he added of Robertson, who faces Liang Wenbo in the first round on Sunday (August 2).
“And that allows him to - when you put those two together [with his cue action] - to make him a bit of a force, and he’s able to roll over opponents.”
*Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July – 16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.
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More by this authorMark Taylor
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