CHAMPION of Champions finalists Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham have given the big thumbs up to the Ricoh Arena tournament.
Five-times world champion O’Sullivan became the first ever winner of the six-day competition after beating Bingham in a close-fought final 10-8.
The tournament, which was screened live on ITV 4, saw 16 of the world’s best players compete against each other in a knock-out format.
A delighted O’Sullivan said, “It has been brilliant, the facilities have been good, the venue has been great and it has been a great three days and I have really enjoyed it.
“It is the first time this tournament has happened so I am really pleased to have got my name on the trophy and it will give me an invite to come back next year.”
Bingham added: “I think everyone, all the players, have loved the tournament and we want more of it. Everyone involved in the tournament, ITV, the sponsors, they put on an amazing tournament and hopefully we will have this for many more years to come.”
Despite not being at his fluent best, O’Sullivan dug deep to get over the winning line, winning the final two frames.
And The Rocket said he was thrilled to come out on top against a solid competitor.
“Stuart has had a great tournament and another good season and I am just pleased to have got the victory, that is all you can hope for,” O’Sullivan added.
“Whether you play well or not sometimes you just have to grind out a result and that is what I managed to do. It was ebb and flow all the way, at one stage I didn’t think I was going to win it because I thought he was playing freer snooker but I managed to hold it together in the end.
“I think sometimes when you get near the winning line you have to make it happen. I learnt my lesson years ago against Stephen Hendry, where I maybe played a couple of negative shots in the latter stages of the game and he didn’t, he took the bull by the horns and for me that was one of my biggest lessons in snooker.
“I knew then that if I was to become a regular winner of tournaments I needed to have the same philosophy. At the end of the game I always think this is the time you need to make it happen.”