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Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he was better as a teenager despite recent successes

Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he was a better player in his teens, despite becoming the oldest winner of the Masters at the age of 48.

O’Sullivan recovered from 6-3 down to beat Ali Carter 10-7 in the final at Alexandra Palace and claim a record-extending eighth Masters crown.

The world number one, who also won the UK Championship in December, has now won 23 Triple Crown titles, five more than Stephen Hendry, and can complete a clean sweep of the game’s biggest events with an eighth World Championship title at the Crucible.

However, O’Sullivan was typically self-deprecating when asked if there was any part of his game which was better now than when he won his first Masters title in 1995 at the age of 19.

“I thought when I was 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 I was even better then than I was now to be honest with you,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.

“Technically I felt I was much better, more consistency. These days I’m a bit in and out and I search for it.

“It’s got better since 2001 and I’ve had to work on the technical side just to keep things as tight as I can.

“I have some good spells, some good months, good years sometimes, but then I have some awful months and awful years and I just accept that that’s how it is and just try and play my way through it and hopefully it comes good at some point.

“It’s quite a struggle for me the game at the moment, confidence wise.”

O’Sullivan won £250,000 for each of his UK Championship and Masters victories and can take his earnings from Triple Crown events this season to £1million by claiming the £500,000 first prize on offer in the World Championship.

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