Snooker is a game first invented in India by the British army in the 1870s. In 140 years, it has become a worldwide sensational sport that has produced many generations of talented players. However, only a handful of people have managed to stand above the rest. These people have earned countless titles and have entered Snooker’s hall of fame.
Some consider Joe Davis as one of the pioneers of professional snooker. His career as a player took off in the 1920s when he challenged the number one spot of the 1927 World Professional Championship and won it. He defended his title for 20 years until retirement. Davis is the first competitor to have achieved a 147 maximum break and has an impressive score of 687 centuries with only four defeats in total.
Inspired by the book of his idol Joe Davis, Steve Davis dominated the game during the 80s. Some of his early successes include besting former champion Terry Griffiths in the semifinals of the 1980 World Championship and winning the world title six times in a decade. One of his most impressive accomplishments was the number one ranking which he held for six consecutive seasons. Along with Alex Higgins, Steve Davis is considered to be one of the founding fathers of televised Snooker.
Alex Higgins is a Northern Irish player and is famous for his rivalry with Steve Davis. He is known as the Hurricane due to his unorthodox fast gameplay. A two times world champion, Higgins was very popular with the people during Snooker’s rise to prominence in the 1970s and 80s. Higgins won the UK Championship in 1983, and the 1978 and 1981 Masters emerging as one of the select few players to earn the Triple Crown title.
Hailing from Scotland, Stephen Hendry was the youngest player to win the Scottish Professional Championship. One of his earliest milestones was his debut at the Crucible where he nearly won at the final and was applauded off by his opponent Willie Thorne. From there on, Hendry began setting world records. Some examples include becoming the youngest world champion in 1990 and earning a total of 36 world ranking titles. He also holds the most won world championships in the modern era (since 1969).
Ronnie O’Sullivan became a professional player at the age of 16. A year later, he emerged as the youngest competitor to be ranked number one in the 1993 UK Championships when he beat Stephen Hendry in the finals. O’Sullivan is regarded by many as the best snooker player of all time and holds the records for the most centuries and maximum breaks in professional snooker. What made him famous was his speedy style of playing and quick wit which earned him the nickname ‘the Rocket’.
Although he hasn’t won any World Championships, Judd Trump is still one of the most formidable snooker players of the current era. In 2012 and 2013 he became number one in the world ranking list. Trump has won several international tournaments and has butted heads with some of the best among which is Ronnie O’Sullivan. His most notable victory is against Mark Selby in the finals of the 2011 China Open.
The world recognises Ding Junghui as the strongest Asian player in snooker’s history. He was the first from his continent to reach the final of the World Championship and has attained the world number 1 rank twice. Currently sitting at the number 2 position with 459 century breaks, this Chinese competitor is not to be underestimated by his European colleagues.
Neil Robertson is another player outside the UK who has been gaining popularity. He was the 2010 world champion and won all of his initial six ranking events. Nicknamed ‘the Melbourne Machine’, this Australian player is left-handed. He has topped the world ranking list four times and is the first player to make 100 centuries in a single season. He is known for his outstanding overseas performances such as his victory over Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Marco Fu in the 2017 Hong Kong Masters.
Mark Selby is considered as the most successful snooker player of today and is the current world number one. He is the sixth to win the Triple Crown event at least twice. The Jester from Leicester has triumphed in three World and two UK Championships along with plenty other achievements under his belt. He is known for his tenacity, as he never gives up no matter what during a match. Even a big player like Ronnie O’Sullivan has acknowledged his skill after Selby beat him in the 2016 UK Championship.