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Neil Robertson on the secret behind the Class of 92’s immense success

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Neil Robertson on the secret behind the Class of 92’s immense success

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Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams have been battling it out for well over 30 years (Picture: Getty Images)

The legendary trio of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams are still competing at the very top of snooker, 32 years after turning professional and Neil Robertson has suggested why.

Williams beat O’Sullivan to win the Tour Championship last week in Manchester, showing that the pair are not slowing down despite the champion being 49 and the runner-up 48.

Higgins has not been in quite the same form of late, but still ranked number 13 in the world at 48 years old is some achievement, with six semi-final runs this season showing he is still competing with the best.

Obviously the three legends of the sport are incredible players, but that is not the only reason they have managed to remain among the elite for so long.

Other greats of the game had tailed off significantly by their late 40s, while these three stand firm and Robertson feels that they have maintained an ability to sense weakness in their opponents and strike at the right times, finding ways to prosper when they are not at their best.

‘Ronnie refers to it a lot and I think there’s a lot of truth to it,’ Robertson said on the Snooker Club podcast. ‘When we all started playing, we played in the clubs and the pro-ams and had to really find ways to win. Conditions don’t always play great so you had to find ways to win.

‘Those three have got an amazing ability to win matches when they’re not playing particularly well. They have always been great at winning matches, winning deciders, clearing up from behind, sensing weakness in opponent all the time. They’ve always maintained that.

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John Higgins remains a threat at the World Championship (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Ronnie has stayed at the highest level consistently, then John and Mark has dipped in and out a bit sometimes. But they’ve always had that killer instinct to sense weakness in their opponents.

‘The three of them have been amazing, to play as long as they have, win all their titles, it’s remarkable really.’

O’Sullivan heads to the World Championship this year looking to win a record eighth title, going clear of Stephen Hendry’s seven, and he is the bookmakers’ favourite to do so.

The Rocket has won five titles this season, including the UK Championship and Masters, and sits top of the world rankings.

WIlliams’ victory in Manchester does spice things up a bit, though, showing a chink in O’Sullivan’s armour and once again showing that the Welshman can be a threat for a fourth Crucible title himself.

Higgins may not have had his best season, but no one will relish facing the four-time world champion at the Crucible, with the Scot reaching the final of three of the last seven editions of the World Championship.


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