Ronnie O’Sullivan makes Stephen Hendry comparison with Masters shocks no surprise

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Ronnie O’Sullivan has had his say on the shocks at the Masters with Judd Trump, Mark Allen and Neil Robertson all having been knocked out in the first round.

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan believes the first round shocks at this year’s Masters are not a surprise with the current crop of players not near former stars.

Reigning champion Judd Trump has been knocked out with Mark Allen and Neil Robertson also losing.

O’Sullivan decided not to take part in the event at Alexandra Palace despite winning the event seven times in his career.

The Rocket is the most successful player at the Masters with Stephen Hendry second on the list having lifted the trophy on six occasions.

And O’Sullivan believes the shock results are coming because the current stars are all on a similar level, unlike when Hendry was competing.

“All week I’ve said that I’m not really totally surprised by the matches,” O’Sullivan said on Eurosport.

“I know that everyone would assume that the favourite’s going to get through, but I do believe that the competition these days is much more competitive than it probably was when Hendry was at his best.

“I think he was streets ahead of everybody and could probably get away with playing at 50 per cent, whereas a lot of players these days – you have ones that you would slightly favour if they’re on their game, but if they’re slightly off and the underdog’s slightly on his game, then I would always go for the underdog.

“Especially in this tournament, because you’re talking about the top 16 and there really isn’t a lot between them these days.”

With a host of big names having been knocked out, the competition is wide open.

John Higgins has progressed while Mark Williams faces Stuart Bingham this evening.

And O’Sullivan wouldn’t be surprised if one of the older faces in the game go all the way this year.

He added: “There’s a lot of pressure on these guys because they’ve seen a lot of the top guys go out – Trump, Ding, Selby.

“Now all of a sudden from not fancying to win it they’re thinking that this might be their chance.

“You might start seeing players crumbling where they’re thinking that ‘this is my opportunity, my best chance to win a Masters’, so it will be interesting to see how that develops.

“You look at someone like Williams, Bingham, that are proven and have won tournaments, that possibly could be favourite to win it now.”

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