World Snooker Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan continues quest for seventh title as he marks 30th year at Crucible

Betfred World Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April-2 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website & app

Ronnie O'Sullivan will equal Steve Davis' record of 30 appearances at the Crucible when his quest for a seventh World Championship title gets under way against David Gilbert on Saturday.

And when it comes to milestones there are few that O'Sullivan has not reached.

Since turning professional in 1992, 'the Rocket' has won six world titles and made more century breaks and more maximum 147s than any other player.

He has also won a record 38 ranking titles, surpassing Stephen Hendry's previous mark of 36.

But there is still one landmark held by the Scot, that O'Sullivan would dearly like to emulate, with the Englishman one world title adrift of Hendry's seven, all from the 1990s.

Century breaks
Ronnie O'Sullivan has 265 more century breaks than any other player

Reclaiming number one spot

O'Sullivan arrives in Sheffield having returned to the top of the world rankings for the first time since 2019 following his semi-final appearance at the Tour Championship earlier in April.

His ranking points were also boosted by victory at the World Grand Prix in December and by reaching the final of the European Masters to put him on course to finish the season in the number one spot - an achievement he'll have managed in each of the last three decades.

"To get back to number one at 46, I'm a bit like 'how did that happen?'. It's a bit like when I won the world title in 2013 without playing for a year," O'Sullivan said.

"Who does that? I think if I really had of applied myself to snooker over the years I could have possibly have been the number one for 29 years but life gets in the way.

"I was never like a Stephen Hendry or Steve Davis where I was devoted to playing and any distractions that got in my way had to go. I have had every distraction under the Sun."

World rankings from 1992-93
Apart from a period away from the sport O'Sullivan has never been far from the top of the world rankings

While O'Sullivan may not present the image of relentless figures like Davis and Hendry he nevertheless leads the way when it comes to Triple Crown events.

His total of 20 titles across the World Championship, the UK Championship and the invitational Masters is two more than Hendry's 18 and five more than Davis achieved. John Higgins and Mark Selby are next on the list - both still active, but 11 titles adrift of O'Sullivan..

Ronnie O'Sullivan Triple Crown triumphs

However, Davis, Hendry and Mark Williams are the only players to have won all three Triple Crown events in the same season, with the Scot the only player to achieve the feat twice.

Closing in on another Hendry milestone (or two?)

O'Sullivan was part of snooker's 'class of 92', turning professional that year alongside four-time world champion Higgins and three-time winner Williams.

However, only Hendry can boast a superior record when it comes to winning matches at the Crucible.

The Scot won a remarkable 70 matches from 90 (a 78% win ratio) between 1986 and 2012 but just two victories will see O'Sullivan eclipse that total, if not ratio, with the Englishman having won 69 times from 92 matches (75%) at the famous venue.

In comparison, Davis, who lifted the world title six times during the 1980s played a total of 84 matches, winning 60 (71%) in a period spanning five decades.

Higgins, who made his bow two years after O'Sullivan, has recorded 60 wins from 83 matches (72%) over the past 27 years, while Williams, who made his Crucible debut in 1997, has won 43 of the 63 matches he has played (68%).

Unlike Davis who did not qualify for the tournament in 2001 and 2002, O'Sullivan has also never missed a Crucible appearance since his 10-7 first-round defeat to Alan McManus aged 17 on his debut - underlining his enduring quality.

Magic O'Sullivan moments

Aside from constructing the most maximum breaks (15) in professional snooker, O'Sullivan has also compiled the quickest, with this year's tournament marking the 25th anniversary of his virtuoso display against Mick Price.

Averaging below nine seconds a shot, O'Sullivan's 147 in five minutes and eight seconds is firmly entrenched as one of the Crucible's most iconic moments.

"It was 8-5 at the interval and we got a knock on the door to say they were holding us back for 10 minutes so the next frame could be shown live on the BBC," said Price.

"I made a decent break and he played safe, and with my next safety shot I cut it a bit thin. Five minutes and eight seconds later, I'm in the Guinness Book of Records.

"I couldn't believe how fast he was going. I watch it back now and he's virtually running round the table, it was ridiculous, just brilliant, mesmeric."

Other unforgettable moments include his match-winning 147 against Mark Williams in 2008 and his fifth world title in 2013 - with that success going down as one of the great sporting comebacks. after a significant period away from the game.

Playing what John Parrott described as "snooker from the gods" he swept past Marcus Campbell, Ali Carter, Stuart Bingham and Judd Trump before beating Barry Hawkins in the final without losing a session in the tournament.

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