Stephen Hendry described Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 4-1 defeat to Alexander Ursenbacher as “probably the worst I’ve seen Ronnie play for a good few years”.
Hendry and O’Sullivan shared an occasionally heated rivalry when the pair were both at their best, but as Hendry has retired and made an attempted comeback with limited success, their relationship has thawed over the years.
Hendry did not hold back while analysing O’Sullivan’s performance against Ursenbacher, who now boasts a 3-1 head-to-head record over the world No. 1.
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O’Sullivan did not make a half-century break and only scored over 25 points in one frame.
“That’s probably the worst I’ve seen Ronnie play for a good few years” Hendry said on ITV.
“He was rubbish tonight.”
Alan McManus, alongside Hendry in the studio, agreed that O’Sullivan was playing too loosely – he sunk two balls illegally with lacklustre safety play in the space of a couple of minutes.
“Ronnie let him off the hook with a couple of wild shots. When [Ursenbacher] got his chance he was fantastic.”
Hendry agreed saying Ursenbacher had been “magnificent and took it to Ronnie from the word go.”
Speaking after the match, Ursenbacher attempted to play down the win, but could not help but recognise the stature of his opponent.
“It’s like any other win, but he’s the greatest player who’s ever picked up a queue so it is special, but I’m trying not to make a big deal out of it,” he said.
Ursenbacher was watched in the crowd for the first time by his mother.
“It can’t get any better than that – apparently I’m paying for dinner as well!” he said.
“I didn’t think she was ever going to come over and actually watch me because of her work schedule, but my friend was going to come over anyway and they surprised me today. I was lying down on the street, I couldn’t believe it! I thought there’s no way I’m going to give in tonight.
“I was really nervous throughout the whole day. She’s a good mum, the best mum you could ever wish for, but that puts pressure on you. If someone’s done everything for you and thrown 26 years away, like every other parent, it gives you that extra pressure. You’ve got to make them proud.”
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