O'Sullivan and Agassi: A Kinship Across Sports

Dramatic Fifth UK Championship Indicative Of O'Sullivan’s Unorthodox Character And Career

Seeing Ronnie O'Sullivan win his fifth UK Championship was like watching a microcosm of his entire career. Only O'Sullivan, hampered by a broken ankle, could look so commanding one moment and so disinterested the next. O'Sullivan roared to a commanding 9-4 lead before suddenly becoming simultaneously listless and reckless. This mental lapse by O'Sullivan, combined with a rise in level by opponent Judd Trump, saw the contest become tied 9-9. Naturally, O'Sullivan suddenly dialled in his unorthodox and aggressive style and clinched the title with a 10-9 victory.

Swiss Efficiency And The Luck Of The Irish

It was a performance familiar to anyone who has followed O'Sullivan's career in the United Kingdom and beyond. It was also a display that sparked instant debate amongst my group about who were Ronnie's equivalents in the wider world of sport. One of the most fantastic analogies of this debate occurred when someone compared O'Sullivan to tennis player Roger Federer. The foundation of this comparison was admittedly sound. This person noted that both sportsmen possess supreme talent which allows them to perform seemingly impossible feats. However, as another pointed out, beyond this talent they are completely different personalities and competitors. This friend, an admittedly keen gambler, decided to ingeniously illustrate this through the comparison of online and offline gamblers. He said that Federer was like a studious user of casinos online and mobile casinos, who religiously scans the best UK online casino review site each day to ensure he always has the finest chance possible. Furthermore, Federer would be one to research and absorb every tactic, pattern and outcome possible. Meanwhile, thrill-seeking O'Sullivan would be more the type who would wager the entirety of a budget on a single roll of the dice in Las Vegas. This is only in a metaphorical sense, of course. Ultimately, as I concluded, Federer and O'Sullivan are both equally fabulous but in very different ways.

Ronnie O'Sullivan  

by  theglobalpanorama 

When Ronnie Met Andre

It was during this prolonged metaphorical Federer comparison that I began to think of which tennis star would be O'Sullivan's equivalent. Almost immediately I thought of retired legend Andre Agassi. Agassi was equally as talented as O'Sullivan and was cited by coach Nick Bollettieri as the most talented player he had ever seen. At the same time, Agassi was similarly controversial and inflammatory. Like O'Sullivan, Agassi was frequently accused of tanking matches and not showing consistent or proficient interest during his youth. Like Agassi, who refused to play at Wimbledon for three years due to its traditional clothing requirements, O'Sullivan has been vocal about his dislike for the boring or old-fashioned aspects of snooker. He once infamously declared: "Snooker needs to change. It's not just a game, it's entertainment. We have to be prepared to take risks and try something different. I'm getting fed up of it just being me and a few other players carrying the mantle and not getting any thanks for it." Moreover, both O’Sullivan and Agassi had an equally flippant nature when discussing their competitors. The latter regularly mocked rival Pete Sampras' alleged tight nature with money. Meanwhile, the former - responding to criticism regarding his apparently disrespectful left-handed trick shots - said about fellow player Alain Robidoux: “I'm better with my left hand than he was with his right.”

Valleys and Mountains

Both Agassi and O'Sullivan posted results which rose and fell depending largely upon their motivation. Both could win a major tournament with ease one week and then bomb completely seven days later. You need only look at O'Sullivan's seven-year gap between UK Championships and Agassi's five-year gap between Australian Open titles to see the comparison. However, whilst Agassi finally matched his raw ability with a manufactured work ethic towards the end of his career to almost double his Grand Slam haul in the process, O'Sullivan has yet to reach that point. But as an O'Sullivan fan, I hope that by the end of his career the comparisons with Agassi will also extend into the twilight years.

Andre Agassi

 by  shinya 

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