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Ronnie O'Sullivan didn't like his snooker nickname and once went by something completely different

Ronnie O'Sullivan didn't like his snooker nickname and once went by something completely different

O'Sullivan had two snooker nicknames throughout the 2000s.

Ronnie O'Sullivan is known to snooker fans worldwide as 'The Rocket' - but he wasn't always a fan of his iconic nickname.

The 48-year-old enters the Crucible this week looking to kickstart his path towards a record-breaking eighth World Snooker Championship title.

He won his first world crown back in 2001, and had three World Championships to his name by the turn of the decade.

Numbers four and five arrived consecutively in 2012 and 2013 - the latter made all the more remarkable by the fact that O'Sullivan did not play a single competitive match between the two tournaments.

His sixth title was won in incredible circumstances in 2020, while number seven was secured in 2022.

Throughout most of his professional career, O'Sullivan has gone by the nickname 'The Rocket', dating back to his first professional season in 1992/93 when he won a best-of-nine frame match in just 43 minutes.

And while that moniker has stuck with him ever since, O'Sullivan didn't actually like the nickname at first.

That's according to former World Snooker MC Alan Hughes, who coined a different nickname for the seven-time champion in the early 2000s.

Hughes, who announced major snooker tournaments between 1985 and 2007, told BBC Sport in 2003: "I started off calling Ronnie O'Sullivan 'The Rocket', but he didn't like it.

"Apparently there was a bloke in Birmingham they called 'Rocket Ron' because he couldn't pot a ball!

"But now I call him 'The Essex Exocet', because I think that's a bit more classy."

Ronnie O'Sullivan before the 2001 World Snooker Championship final against John Higgins (left) (

The 'Essex Exocet' moniker has been phased out over the years - though you will still see it mentioned occasionally - with current MCs Rob Walker and Phil Seymour exclusively referring to O'Sullivan as 'The Rocket' before TV events.

If you're wondering what 'exocet' means, the Collins Dictionary has it as follows: "A tactical missile with a high-explosive warhead, which is guided by computer and radar, travels at a very low altitude at high subsonic speed, and has a range of up to 70km."

O'Sullivan opens his 2024 Crucible campaign against Welsh qualifier Jackson Page on Wednesday afternoon.

Featured Image Credit: Getty / Eurosport

Topics: Ronnie OSullivan, Snooker, World Snooker Championship