While reputation must come into the equation a little, there is no greater way to measure a list like this than with deep runs in tournaments and by acquiring silverware itself.
It’s no surprise, then, to see the top 10 positions primarily filled with proven winners from the recent period.
Read more: Best snooker players of all time
Omissions that might surprise some include Neil Robertson - an all-time great who has struggled for form since the end of the 2021/22 campaign - and immense talent Jack Lisowski.
Kyren Wilson and Ali Carter are other regular members of the top 10 in the world rankings who have just missed out here.
RadioTimes.com ranks the 10 best snooker players in the world right now.
10. Zhang Anda
For most of his career, Zhang Anda was considered a journeyman. On and off the main tour for years, he finally broke into the top 64 of the world rankings for the first time in 2023. It spurred him on, and the Chinese competitor duly reached the English Open final, where he lost to Judd Trump. A month later, a composed Zhang went one better by romping to glory at the International Championship – continuing his meteoric rise and into the world’s top 16.
9. John Higgins
It’s fair to say that John Higgins isn’t reaching the dizzying heights of his heyday, and other than in the Championship League, titles have been hard to come by. However, several strong performances have been thwarted by inspired opponents, with the Scot recently on the wrong end of many tight scorelines. Higgins has been written off so many times in his career, but the four-time world champion is still in there punching.
8. Barry Hawkins
Barry Hawkins has been a consistent member of the higher ranks during the second half of his career, so it was a shock to many when he dropped out of the top 16 and failed to qualify for the 2023 World Championship. Yet the Hawk bounced back immediately by securing a long overdue fourth career ranking title with victory in the 2023 European Masters, and he has rediscovered his trademark consistency since.
7. Mark Williams
Mark Williams began the calendar year of 2023 by reaching the final of the Masters, where he was beaten in agonising fashion by Judd Trump. The Welshman felt his last opportunity at major silverware had slipped away. But about nine months later, Williams became the oldest player since countryman Ray Reardon to win a ranking title – claiming the 2023 British Open at the age of 48. He remains one of the easiest players to watch when in full flow.
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6. Mark Selby
Despite making a memorable 147 break, Mark Selby will have been disappointed to end up on the losing side of an enthralling World Championship final in 2023. The WST Classic champion fell just short of claiming a fifth Crucible crown in 10 years, but his run in Sheffield once again underlined his ability to produce his very best at the major tournaments.
5. Shaun Murphy
There was a spell during the first half of 2023 when Shaun Murphy was arguably at the top of any list featuring the best snooker players in the world. After reaching the Welsh Open final, the Magician orchestrated back-to-back triumphs in the lucrative Players and Tour Championships, where he produced possibly his finest ever snooker. Another victory at the Championship League saw him begin the 2023/24 term in strong fashion as well.
4. Luca Brecel
Has there been a more memorable run at the Crucible Theatre in recent years? Luca Brecel cut an inspired figure as he emerged from five dramatic encounters in Sheffield to seal a maiden world title in 2023. The Belgian Bullet continues to struggle with inconsistency overall, but he is widely regarded as being one of the most naturally talented cueists in the game. An exhilarating player to watch when at his best, more major silverware will surely come.
3. Mark Allen
Mark Allen was voted as the player of the 2022/23 snooker season, and rightly so. The Pistol fired his way to glory in three ranking events during that spell, before reaching the semi-finals of the World Championship. Threatening to become world number one for the first time in his career, Allen had a quiet start to the 2023/24 campaign before reaching the final of the invitational Champion of Champions, where he thrashed Judd Trump 10-3.
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
There are players who have secured more trophies than Ronnie O’Sullivan of late. But the Rocket continues to be the first name most people look out for in the draw. O’Sullivan’s form in 2023 was patchy and he didn’t play in a lot of tournaments, but his reputation as the best snooker player of all time still intimidates opponents. Success in the prestigious 2023 Shanghai Masters proved he will continue to mix it with the very elite when he’s fully focussed.
1. Judd Trump
After dominating the sport between 2019 and 2021, Judd Trump suffered from a relatively quiet spell by his own high standards. That was until the 2023 Masters, which he duly won to secure a fourth Triple Crown title. An outstanding run of form towards the end of the year then saw Trump capture a hat-trick of successive ranking titles – an accomplishment only achieved by four players previously. When he gets on a roll, there are few who can stop the Juddernaut.
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