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Six-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is a “dream” opponent of the World Championship final, says 2019 winner Judd Trump.
World number one O’Sullivan is eyeing a record seventh title in the modern era, while Trump is chasing his second crown in the Crucible.
A prize pool of £500,000 for the winners and first place in the world rankings are also up for grabs in the final, which starts at 13:00 BST on Sunday.
“Ronnie was a hero of mine growing up,” Trump said.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play with him in the final. There were times when I didn’t think it would happen, but now he’s here.
“He’s already the best player there ever was, but I think he wants to confirm that by winning a seventh title. You can see that in the last few weeks. He tries to play it down, but I think he’s more determined than ever.
“It will be extremely difficult to beat him, but I hope I saved my best for last.”
O’Sullivan, 46, holds almost all records in the game, but has repeatedly played down the prospect of emulating Stephen Hendry’s tally of seven world titles – even if it’s a milestone he clearly covets and one that would undoubtedly settle any debate over who is the greatest player of modern times.
‘The Rocket’ enters his eighth final as the oldest finalist since Ray Reardon in 1982, having bested David Gilbert 10-5, Mark Allen 13-4, Stephen Maguire 13-5 and John Higgins 17-11.
“I always have butterflies and nerves, that’s why I don’t like to do that,” O’Sullivan said.
“All other tournaments are bullshit – I just host and play. Maybe we’re not used to playing in this kind of atmosphere.
“We haven’t played a venue like this anywhere right now. I think it’s like playing at Leyton Orient every week and then suddenly being invited to play at the Bernabeu Stadium in front of 100,000 people. It’s a special atmosphere outside. “
A final for the neutrals
The climax of snooker’s biggest event pits two of the sport’s most flamboyant and attacking players against each other.
It will also be a cross-generational snooker battle, with Trump, who has often been hailed as O’Sullivan’s natural heir, facing off against another of the ‘Class of 92’ after his death. semifinal victory about Mark Williams.
While O’Sullivan beat Trump in their last Players Championship meeting in February, the 32-year-old Trump won eight of the 11 finals they played against each other.
Trump also has a marginally better head-to-head record – 15 wins in 29 games – and will also gain confidence from his 10-4 win at the 2019 Masters, in front of a crowd that was vehemently behind O’Sullivan.
However, it is O’Sullivan who will start Sunday’s final as the favorite, having beaten 12 centuries in the tournament compared to Trump’s eight.