Ronnie O'Sullivan progressed to the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday by completing a 13-10 victory over Ding Junhui.
This is the 19th time that the 44-year-old has reached the last eight at the Crucible, a feat which matches Stephen Hendry's record.
Post-match, O'Sullivan was asked by the BBC if he could have foreseen competing at the top level for so long when he made his World Championship debut more than 25 years ago.
"If you asked then, no, but when you look at the standard of play, I'd say yeah," said O'Sullivan before explaining one of the reasons for his and others' longevity.
"People like me and John [Higgins] and Mark [Williams], if you look at the younger players coming through, they’re not that good really.
"Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, or not even amateurs they’re so bad a lot of them.
"A lot of them you see now, you think, cor, I’ve probably got to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50. So that’s why we’re hovering around – because of how poor it is down that end."
? "I'd probably have to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50."
Ronnie O'Sullivan isn't impressed with new players coming through on the world tour.
?: https://t.co/Q9lmZNuHmx #bbcsnooker pic.twitter.com/IAyNAzEmYH
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 10, 2020
O'Sullivan will play another veteran, Mark Williams, in the quarter-final. The two first met at the World Championship back in 1994.
"People forget that me and Williams were playing on the junior circuit from 1986 onwards," said O'Sullivan.
"We were playing in pro-ams together all the time. Higgins came along in '89. Me and Williams had two or three years where we were battling with each other and then we heard this little Scottish fella come along. I looked at him and thought, 'Who's this little geezer?' We've been in each other's heads for 34 years."