Ronnie O’Sullivan is confirmed as the new world number one in the official rankings list after the latest revision.
The Rocket had been threatening to move back to the top spot on several occasions this year already, and he has finally now replaced Mark Selby at the summit.
With the latter not competing in last week’s Tour Championship having failed to qualify, O’Sullivan was guaranteed to move up in the standings.
It’s the first time since 2019 that the Englishman has held the coveted spot, and he admitted last week that he was surprised to learn of the achievement.
Based on a two-year rolling system, almost half of the Rocket’s ranking tally was accumulated from his World Championship success in 2020 – where he earned half a million pounds.
With that rich sum set to be deducted from his total next month, O’Sullivan’s trip back to number one may be short lived.
Much will depend on how the 46 year-old can fare when he makes his latest bid to capture a record-equalling seventh Crucible crown.
Either way, O’Sullivan will enter the 2022 World Championship as the world’s best player on paper, although in reality that may not be entirely accurate.
Neil Robertson would rightfully lay claim to that title at present, especially after mounting a remarkable comeback from 9-4 down to beat John Higgins in the Tour Championship final on Sunday.
The Australian has won four trophies this season, including the invitational Masters, and has risen back to number three in the world behind Selby and in front of Judd Trump.
Official World Rankings Top 16 1. Ronnie O'Sullivan 2. Mark Selby 3. Neil Robertson 4. Judd Trump 5. Kyren Wilson 6. John Higgins 7. Zhao Xintong 8. Mark Williams 9. Barry Hawkins 10. Shaun Murphy 11. Luca Brecel 12. Stuart Bingham 13. Anthony McGill 14. Jack Lisowski 15. Mark Allen 16. Yan Bingtao
The fight to see who among the quartet can end the 2021/22 season as the world number one will be fascinating.
O’Sullivan drops to fourth on the provisional end-of-season rankings, but there’s only £75,000 separating Selby, Robertson, and Trump in the top three slots.
Meanwhile, with the World Championship qualifiers starting on Monday, attention will turn to the fight for tour survival.
Finishing inside the top 64 on the official rankings will guarantee another season on the Main Tour.
The top four players on the one-year list, who have not otherwise safeguarded their places, will receive a fresh two-year card as well.
Any player who can qualify for the venue stages of the World Championship will also receive a two-year card if they aren’t otherwise safe.
The likes of Matthew Stevens, Dominic Dale, Michael Holt, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Fergal O’Brien, and Nigel Bond are among the high-profile players who are battling for their tour safety at the English Institute of Sport.
Featured photo credit: WST