The world no.
The seven-time world champion holds the 25-year-old in high esteem and says he has the talent to become the greatest player of all time and wants to help him fulfill his potential.
With the greatest player in football history in the corner of one of the sport’s most talented young stars, it’s an exciting prospect and one that world No. 55 Grace believes will work for everyone involved.
“Seems like a match made in heaven doesn’t it? I think Ronnie could only work with players as talented as Zhao,” Grace told the Talking Snooker podcast.
“He couldn’t come along and turn me into a top scorer or a 16-second-a-shot dealer, or let’s face it.
“He has to work with that level of player and that will excite him. I think Ronnie will enjoy it a lot too.”
Zhao began realizing his immense potential last season when he won the UK Championship and the German Masters – his first two ranking events.
Much is expected of him this campaign but Grace has advised caution and believes if the world no. 6 can find his way into tournaments more consistently it will be a good season.
“If he solidifies as a top 16 player and hits the business end in some tournaments, I think that’s fine with him,” said the Yorkshire man.
“He suddenly left from where he won two tournaments in such a short time, it will be difficult for him to do that again, I can’t imagine that happening again.
“But you never know, this could be the breakthrough he needed and he could achieve things that people wouldn’t have given him credit for.”
O’Sullivan and Zhao’s great relationship has continued over the summer, with the Chinese star traveling to Singapore with the world champion to play shows at Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy.
The 46-year-old is a big fan of the Cyclone on and off the table and wants to do for Zhao what the legendary Ray Reardon did for him earlier in his career.
“He could be the greatest of all time with his talent, his ability,” O’Sullivan said ahead of the 2022 World Snooker Championships. “I always say he’s Roger Federer with a snooker cue in his hand. But he has to develop and learn, and he will learn. He’s like me, he’s a fast learner and he’s shown he’s got what it takes.
“A bit like what Reardon did to me, he showed me how to defend better. Xintong attacks, but it sometimes attacks due to being forced to attack. I said to him, ‘If you do better, you will always have the upper hand, the more you have the upper hand, the more comfortable you will feel. You don’t want to play snooker out of desperation.”
“I used to always do that, played out of desperation. Attack because I don’t know how to get out of trouble and dig my way out of it. Let’s not do that, use the odds in our favor, but you have to act in a certain way for this to happen.’
MORE : Ronnie O’Sullivan tips Chinese trio to become world champions
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/15/ronnie-osullivan-and-zhao-xintong-a-match-made-in-heaven-reckons-david-grace-16830671/ Ronnie O'Sullivan and Zhao Xintong a "Match made in Heaven", thinks David Grace