RONNIE O'SULLIVAN has played down talk of a rivalry between him and Judd Trump, saying that the world number one's main competition will be against himself.

O'Sullivan began his campaign for a third consecutive UK Championship at the Barbican with a dominant 6-0 win over Ross Bulman in the first-round - with a high break of 133 and a total of five 50-plus breaks.

O'Sullivan and current world champion Trump are the bookies' two favourites to win the competition, but the five-time world champion played down any talk of a personal rivalry between the pair given their 14-year age gap.

"I think at the moment, Judd's competition is with himself," said O'Sullivan.

"He's the one at the head of the pack. He's the world champion, he's the world number one.

"He's the man in form and the one that everyone wants to try and beat. He's the one that you've got to stop to try and win the tournaments.

"I think it's very difficult to call it a rivalry because I'm so much older than him. I'm 44 now (Trump is 30).

"It's a bit like trying to compare (Roger) Federer and (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, the new guy that's coming through in tennis.

"I think the rivalry, as it was, was probably between me, (John) Higgins and (Mark) Williams.

"In the same way that you had (Steve) Davis and (Stephen) Hendry and Davis and (Jimmy) White.

"I think Judd's rivalries will be with players like Ding (Junhui) or players like that because they're at the right age and they're going along parallel careers.

"It's very difficult to call it a rivalry. I think rivalries are stemmed when two people are on parallel careers.

"For me, it's just good to still be around."

Not since Hendry in 1996 has a player won all three of snooker's Triple Crown events in the same calendar year.

Having won the Masters and the World Championships earlier this year, Trump could be set to make history should he do so.

But, when asked whether Trump should now regarded be as a great of the sport, O'Sullivan believes that to make such judgements would require success of further longevity.

"Listen, Judd is a fantastic player and a great talent," added O'Sullivan.

"But, I think if you look at his CV and then look at Hendry, Davis, Higgins - they're true greats of the game.

"There's plenty of people who've won the world championship. Ken Doherty won a world championship, but is he a great of the game? Probably not. He's just a very, very good player.

"I think the true test of that will be to do it over 10 to 15 years.

" In other sports, you look at (Lionel) Messi and Federer. I think you would say they are greats.

"But, if you look at Rory McIlroy. Is he a great of the game? Probably not.

"Eventually, he (Trump) probably will be and it's going to be great to watch that unfold and develop."

During his win with Bulman, O'Sullivan seemed to turn down the chance to go for a 147 break, reached by Barry Hawkins on Wednesday.

He joked: "That £15,000 is a nice Christmas present for Barry, he can buy a few expensive presents with that.

"I didn't want to steal £7,500 from him because he could do with it a bit more than me.