Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he “couldn’t be happier” for Jordan Brown, whom he labelled a “proper player”, after being stunned by the world No 81 in the Welsh Open final on Sunday. Brown became the lowest-ranked snooker player to clinch a ranking tournament title since 1993.
The Northern Irishman, a massive outsider, pounced upon a mistake by ‘The Rocket’ and went on to win the deciding frame for an unforgettable 9-8 victory at Celtic Manor in Newport.
Six-time world champion O’Sullivan had been searching for a 38th ranking title but missed out on the Ray Reardon trophy and the £70,000 prize that comes with winning the Welsh Open.
Not since Dave Harold won the Asia Open 28 years ago has a player ranked as low as the ‘Antrim Ferrari’ emerged triumphant in such a match.
But O’Sullivan revealed his delight for Brown despite having been a massive favourite with the bookmakers prior to his defeat.
The Essex potter had trailed 4-1 at one point but was relatively happy with his performance and admitted Brown was simply the superior player on the day.
“Listen, I’ve enjoyed every minute of that today,” said O’Sullivan to Eurosport. “I’ve had such a fantastic time. I love playing Jordan, he’s a great guy. I’m so happy for him.
“I fluked that red in the last frame and as I see his face I can just see the disappointment in him. What a horrible way… if I was to win it. But I’m so happy for him.
“He’s such a lovely guy and a fantastic player as well. You don’t beat [Mark] Selby, you don’t beat [Stephen] Maguire, and I played alright today. And not many people beat me when I’m playing alright.
“He’s a proper player. It’s fantastic for Jordan, it’s his night and you couldn’t be happier for him. It’s been great.”
The victorious Brown then declared: “I’m absolutely speechless. First of all it’s an absolute honour to play Ronnie O’Sullivan in a final.
“He’s the greatest of all time and it’s just an honour and a privilege just to play him.
“I have had some dark days in my snooker life. But that is what makes you stronger as a player and a person.
“I just never stopped believing in myself. I was working full-time in a petrol station and was playing full-time snooker as well.
“The big turning point came about five years ago. I was messing around off the table and wasn’t putting the hours in.
“I just thought I should put the hours in and the effort in and see where it takes me.
“Whatever you are doing and if you want something bad and feel you can achieve it, then do not give up.
“I’ve shown that anything can be possible if you believe in it enough.”
Brown is only the fourth Northern Irish winner of a ranking tournament after Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Mark Allen.
He added: “It means everything. To be in the same bracket as the past champions like Dennis, Alex and my good pal Mark I can’t put into words what that means to me. To be a part of that is really special.”
The pair are both back in play this week with the 2021 Players Championship getting underway.
World No 1 Judd Trump is looking to defend his crown for a prize of £125,000 as the top 16 players in the rankings battle it out.
Brown starts his week on Tuesday against John Higgins, the runner-up in the Masters last month.
O’Sullivan takes on Ding Junhui, who has not won a title since his UK Championship triumph back in September 2019, at the same time in Tuesday’s evening session.