“Sometimes you watch Ronnie play in finals and you wonder ‘What could I have done if I was in that situation?’ and sometimes you think ‘Well not a great deal’. Unfortunately, that’s what I ran into today. He probably plays a final like that once every two or three years and I think against just about any other player in the world he probably would have beaten them 10-1, so I did really well to stay in there. It was three mistakes I made and that was it, I lost 10 frames. He won five or six frames where there wasn’t anything I could do about it.” (Neil Robertson, 2019)
In any sports branch, ‘greatness’ is undoubtedly a subjective matter. Individual statistics, awards and trophies are considered as key factors in determining the best for sports lovers. Interpretations of the athletes for their rivals are also relevant anchor points that spark debates or shed a light on the issue.
Neil Robertson whose opinion takes place on the spot is one of the best in snooker history. As a respected athlete, Robertson is one of ten players to win the Triple Crown of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters, and he is regarded as the best player ever from outside the United Kingdom for some sports authorities. What’s more, he is the unique player in the history who made 100 century breaks within a season. In this regard, his feelings about running against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final is a very important source that sheds light on the ‘best’ debate.
As a respectful icon of snooker, Ronnie O’Sullivan – The Rocket – has become the first snooker player to achieve 1000 century breaks. We will see whether he will outnumber Stephen Hendry’s seven appearances on the wall of champions at the Crucible. But anyway, it is obvious that he does not intend to stop and to stop himself any limit. On the other hand, Whether the names such as Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, and Judd Trump will reach their four-digit record in the century breaks, let’s go over his century breaks in detail.
Season, Month & Tournament
Since the 1999-2000 season; the Rocket did at least 30 century breaks each season except 2005-2006 and 2012-2013 that he could not participate in tournaments until the World Championship due to medical advice.
His century breaks in ranking tournaments hold the lion share. In the 2017-2018 season that he made his career peak with 74 century breaks, he achieved a total of 62 century breaks only in ranking tournaments, while in other years he did not even reach the 60 bands during the entire season.
O’Sullivan had shown remarkable century break performances in special tournaments – such as Benson & Hedges, Humo Masters and Pontins Professional – in the early years of his career as well as in minor ranking tournaments particularly in the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 seasons.
He has won five World Championships and a record seven UK Championships where he made a total of 285 century breaks.
He has won record seven Masters where he made a total of 73 century breaks. He also achieved reaching 8 century breaks in the 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 seasons.
November (162) and April (142) came to the forefront as months that the Rocket made his most century breaks. The World Championship was seen as the most important factor for his high century break record in April. In addition to the special tournaments in the 1993-1994 season, the Champion of Champions and the UK Championship in recent years acted a crucial role in his high century break numbers in November.
Tour, Result & Break Point
The Rocket has shown his top performances – in terms of century break – in the game of last 16, while his records in quarter-finals (152), semi-final (140) and final (138) also stand at the forefront with his century break figures.
As for last 16, he made 52 of 197 century breaks at the World Championship, 29 at Masters and 25 at the UK Championship.
O’Sullivan won more than 80% of games that he made at least one century break.
He also made at least one century break in the final of 43 of 158 matches that he was beaten.
As the score increased (between 100 and 147), his number of century breaks has shown a gradual decrease. In other words, O’Sullivan made 384 breaks in the 100-109 band, while the number of breaks drops to 47 as for the 140-146 level.
Over the last 25 years, John Higgins stands at the top of the list including Rocket’s opponents that were exposed to his century breaks. He made 54 century breaks against Higgins, and his first century break – against Higgins – was realized with 117 points in the final of the 1994-1995 British Open.
As expected, he set a higher number of century breaks against British opponents. Half of the century breaks (505) was made against English rivals while 171 was realized against Scottish snooker players.
As for opponents from outside the United Kingdom, the Chinese snooker players came out as the rivals with O’Sullivan’s highest number of century breaks. 27 of these breaks were made against Ding Jinhui, who was regarded as one of the most important players in recent years.
After Stephen Hendry (42) and Jimmy White (32), Neil Robertson, whose opinion is mentioned on the spot, came out as a rival that was faced with 31 century breaks of the Rocket.
He holds the records for the most maximum breaks in professional competition with 15.
He made 14 breaks in ranking tournaments while the other was realized in a minor ranking tournament (PTC in 2011-2012 – Event 4 against Adam Duffy).
He made 5 breaks in April.
He won 13 of 15 games that he made a maximum break.
He achieved most of century breaks in last 32 (5) and last 16 (4). In finals, he made one and only 147 in the 2013-2014 Welsh Open.
There are two seasons in which he performed more than one maximum break: the 1999-2000 and the 2007-2008.
He hasn’t been able to show maximum break twice against any of his opponents. In other words, he produced 15 maximum series against 15 different opponents throughout his career.
The Rocket holds the record for the fastest maximum break, compiled in a time of five minutes and twenty seconds at the 1997 World Championship.