RONNIE O’Sullivan said his dramatic deciding frame UK Championship final victory over Judd Trump was the hardest match he has played in his life.
O’Sullivan dug deep to thwart off one of the greatest comebacks the sport has ever seen as Trump fought back from 9-4 behind to remarkably force a final frame shootout.
O’Sullivan, who was forced to stay sat on his chair for much of the final stages with Trump playing tremendous snooker, claimed his fifth UK Championship after pulling off a fine snooker in behind the green which Trump failed to escape from and then a match-winning break of 51.
Victory capped off a brilliant calendar year for Ronnie O’Sullivan who has enjoyed winning the Masters, the Welsh Open, the Champion of Champions and now the UK Championship. And throw into the mix two memorable 147 maximums and a sixth appearance at the World Championship final.
Sunday’s match will be remembered in history for Trump’s thrilling fightback display which made for a classic encounter and O’Sullivan admitted the way he came back had ‘scared’ him.
“From 9-5 up to 9-9, he’s not missed a ball really – he’s just knocked everything in and I didn’t get a chance,” O’Sullivan said.
“At 9-8 I had a good chance but to be honest my mind was just gone, I felt really nervous after having such a big lead because you think if I lose it from there, the disappointment would’ve been unbelievable. It was the hardest match I have ever played.
“The pressure was just mounting and mounting and it’s difficult to put that out of your mind but in the last frame I managed to get a chance.
“Years ago at 9-4 down, you would’ve probably expected to have got three or four chances and someone wouldn’t have come at you that quick, but nowadays you get players who can reel off three, four or five frames off on the bounce.
“Judd is a tough opponent. He’s very dynamic and he’s very explosive. He’s got so much cue power, he can pot like you wouldn’t believe, he’s fearless and that’s difficult because he’s in your face the whole time.”