‘He’s not invincible’, says Jackson Page as 22-year-old fires Crucible warning to snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan

‘He’s not invincible’, says Jackson Page as 22-year-old fires Crucible warning to snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan
‘He’s not invincible’, says Jackson Page as 22-year-old fires Crucible warning to snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan

THE 22-year-old tasked with stopping Ronnie O’Sullivan’s quest for record-breaking glory has fired a defiant warning to the legend.

The Rocket launches his bid for an eighth World Championship triumph after dominating the sport for the last two decades.

Jackson Page says he can produce an epic upset against Ronnie O’SullivanCredit: AFP
The Rockey is eyeing a record-breaking eighth world crownCredit: Getty

O’Sullivan, 48, has won 41 titles in his career and made 1,206-century breaks and will face Jackson Page in the first round on Wednesday.

But his young rival, who secured the showdown with O’Sullivan after edging past world No 22 Noppon Saengkham in the final qualifier, feels he could “easily” cause a shock.

Especially if he shows the same form he did when reaching the semis of the World Open in March.

The Welshman told GB News: “If I bring the form I had in China like in the Selby match, I can easily do the same against Ronnie.

“He’s not invincible, so if I play like that I’ll win, if I don’t it may be a different story.

“Everyone has the goal of going to win it. With Ronnie first, it doesn’t make a difference to me, I’ve got to beat the table and who’s in front of me.

“I’ll be looking forward to playing the greatest of all time on the greatest stage but I’ll still want to win.

“I’ve played him once this season, it was a decent game.

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“I had one chance in five frames. I think he had three centuries and I had one.

“Another time, I was younger, about 15, in the UK Championship, he beat me 6-3 so hopefully I’m due a win.”

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O’Sullivan’s last defeat was Mark Williams in the Tour Championship final – who just happens to be Page’s friend and mentor.

But the ace is adamant that he will not be seeking any advice on overcoming the Rocket from his experienced pal.

Page said: “There are no tips when it comes to that.

“You’ve just got to play your best against Ronnie, if you don’t play well then you don’t really win, if I play well I can.

“You’ve got to attack him and just play your best, you’ve just got to keep him off the table, so if I play well I can do it but we’ll soon see.”

Only once in 20 years has O’Sullivan lost his opening match at the Crucible and he will be overwhelming favorite to progress.

When SunSport spoke with O’Sullivan about the next generation of cueists, the Valleys potter was at the forefront of his mind.

World Snooker Championship draw 2024

Here is the full draw for the Snooker World Championship:

  • Luca Brecel v David Gilbert
  • Robert Milkins v Pang Junxu
  • Ali Carter v Stephen Maguire
  • Shaun Murphy v Lyu Haotian
  • Mark Selby v Joe O’Connor
  • Kyren Wilson v Dominic Dale
  • John Higgins v Jamie Jones
  • Mark Allen v Robbie Williams
  • Judd Trump v Hossein Vafaei
  • Tom Ford v Ricky Walden
  • Zhang Anda v Jak Jones
  • Mark Williams v Si Jiahui
  • Ding Junhui v Jack Lisowki
  • Gary Wilson v Stuart Bingham
  • Barry Hawkins v Ryan Day
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jackson Page

The world No.1 said: “Jackson Page has benefited from Mark Williams. He has played with Mark, having come through as a junior.

“He’d have learned a lot. From being around him and picking balls out. Mark has sharpened him up.

“I didn’t realize he was only about 22. He looks a lot older than that.

“When I was told his age, I was like: ‘There you go, that’s what happens when you have someone young around someone so good.’

“Jackson is still learning the job. He’s probably the only one with that background and those experiences mean he’ll hit the ground running a lot earlier.

“You look at people like Luca Brecel, a great talent, amazing, but look how long it took him to hit the ground.

“Until the age of 26-27-28. Maybe 10 years of getting beaten and beaten. But because he’s so talented, he has obviously got there in the end.

“Jackson Page has got to that point a little bit earlier. He was probably a little bit raw when he first turned pro, like we all are.

“Well, apart from John Higgins who was a different style of player. But we have all had to rein it in.

“Me, I had probably had to rein it in more than Mark and John because I was really ultra-aggressive.

“But Jackson Page has learned. Now he’s looking like the complete player. “I think he’s ready to win tournaments.”

O’Sullivan is in the bottom half of the 32-man draw and if he wins over the best of 19 frames, he will face either Barry Hawkins or Ryan Day in round two.

 
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