Ronnie O’Sullivan became the first player to make 1,000 career century breaks during the final of the Coral Players Championship on Sunday evening.
O’Sullivan reached this historic landmark with a run of 134 in the 14th and last frame on the final against Neil Robertson at the Guild Hall in Preston, securing a 10-4 victory. Fans rose to salute the Rocket as he celebrated this marvellous achievement.
It is a feat comparable to Pelé scoring his 1,000th goal in 1969, or Sunil Gavaskar becoming the first player to score 10,000 test runs in 1987.
Second on the all-time list of century makers is Stephen Hendry, who made 775 tons during his illustrious career, and the huge gap of 225 shows just how prolific O’Sullivan has been.
In his debut professional season back in 1992/93, O’Sullivan made 29 centuries – only Hendry made more that term – and the Rocket has been a regular scorer of three-figure totals ever since, establishing himself as the best break-builder of all-time. His biggest tally in a single season came in 2017/18 when he made 74.
O’Sullivan also leads the way when it comes to maximum breaks. His 147 at the English Open earlier this season was the 15th of his career. Hendry made 11 maximums before he retired in 2012, while John Higgins (nine), Ding Junhui (six) and Shaun Murphy (five) are the only other players to make more than four 147s. The Rocket has also made the most centuries at the Crucible with 166, followed by Higgins with 138 and Hendry with 127.
Aged 43, the Chigwell native has contemplated retirement many times over the years but has also suggested he could play until he is at least 50, so he could set the bar very high in terms of career centuries by the time he puts his cue away for good.
However, with more tournaments now than ever before, and playing conditions at a high standard across the tour, there will come a time when O’Sullivan’s record haul of centuries is eclipsed. Judd Trump already has 596 at the age of just 29, so if he makes an average of 50 per season over the next decade, he will fly well past the 1,000 mark.
But for now it is time to salute the magnificence of O’Sullivan’s accomplishment.
Most career centuries
Ronnie O’Sullivan 1,000 Stephen Hendry 775 John Higgins 745 Neil Robertson 621 Judd Trump 596 Mark Selby 570 Ding Junhui 498 Marco Fu 490 Shaun Murphy 479 Mark Williams 460