Ronnie O’Sullivan has branded Roger Federer an “artist” in comparison to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as he likened himself to the Swiss ace and Lionel Messi. The 46-year-old said that playing their respective sports the way they do can be risky and stop them succeeding ahead of the Snooker World Championship.
O’Sullivan is gearing up to win a seventh World Championship, and admitted he thought his ability to win six prior titles was even more impressive because of his trademark style of play. The 46-year-old also said he thought Federer and Messi had similar qualities, saying it had impacted the GOAT debate in tennis because of the 20-time Major champion’s “artistic” style against his rivals’ records.
“I have played a brand of snooker that is very difficult to play as an individual sportsman,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport “For someone like Lionel Messi, playing in a football team, I suppose he is just told to do what he is good at and they have other people covering for him where maybe he doesn’t want to run around and chase the ball.”
Using Federer as an example, the snooker legend refused to give his own verdict on who the greatest tennis player was but said the Swiss star’s elegant style of play left fans siding with him even when Nadal overtook his shared Grand Slam record with Djokovic, standing alone on 21 Major titles. “A little bit like Federer in tennis. Who is the greatest of all time? Statistically, you would say Nadal, but the way he did it, a lot of people would say Federer is the greatest of all time,” he continued.
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