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O'Sullivan hails 'greatest achievement' after winning with new cue

Ronnie O'Sullivan has described winning the 2009 Masters with a new cue as his greatest achievement in snooker.

The Rocket's undoubted talent was underlined by the fact that he won the tournament with a cue he had first picked up just nine days ago - and one day before his opening match against Joe Perry.

O'Sullivan had smashed his old model in frustration during practice but, with a new cue hastily prepared by John Parris, he went all the way to the title at snooker's most prestigious invitation tournament.

"It's got to be my greatest achievement, to win it with a new cue," said the 33-year-old after his thrilling 10-8 defeat of Mark Selby at Wembley on Sunday night.

"I had an hour with it the day before my first match, and I just wanted to get through that one.

"After that I had five days before the quarter-finals and I tried a few others, but then decided to stick with the first one. I was comfortable with it but I can't play certain shots. It's a good cue but John Parris can make me a better one which I can prepare for the World Champion-ship with."

O'Sullivan revealed that he will present the cue he won the tournament with to a friend currently on holiday in Bali, believed to be the artist Damien Hirst, with whom O'Sullivan has struck up a friendship since Hirst attended last season's Crucible final.

As for the match, O'Sullivan said: "I've never had so much bad luck, it was laughable. He had some super-duper run. I was starting to think that I couldn't possibly win, I thought I was fighting something that I can't compete against.

"At 7-5 down I was resigned to losing unless it evened itself out. If it did, I knew I had a chance, even though I was struggling with my game.

"I wasn't seeing the potting angles as well as I was all week so I had to stay positive and hang in there. From 7-5 I was pleased with how I played."

A disappointed Selby, who lost his title and unbeaten record at Wembley as well as the chance to become the only player other than Cliff Thorburn, Stephen Hendry and Paul Hunter to win the Masters in consecutive years, said: "I thought if it went 9-9 then I can't lose, but it wasn't to be.

"I came here with a lot of pressure on my shoulders because it's my first tournament as defending champ-ion. I came so close to keeping the title and making a bit of history."

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