All titles are sweet – but there is something about beating the best around either in the final or during the tournament that makes them taste even sweeter.
I was reminded of this watching Angelique Kerber’s extraordinary victory over Serena Williams in the women’s final of the Australian Open tennis this week.
In what must rank as one of the greatest tennis matches – men’s or women’s – in recent years, Kerber kept playing, and more importantly kept believing that this was meant to be her day.
When you take on someone as dominant as Serena at a stage of a grand slam where she rarely loses, it is not just her tennis you are combating - but aura and reputation too.
Kerber will never forget her first major triumph, and in the years to come when she reflects on the achievement the fact it came against the best out there will only add to the satisfaction.
So it is in other sports, not least snooker. And watching and listening to Kerber afterwards I was reminded of Mark Selby’s first and to date only world title win in 2014.
Not only does Selby regard Ronnie O’Sullivan as a great player, the best now and possibly the best of all time, but there has been some real needle stoked up over the years.
O’Sullivan, who memorably called Selby ‘The Torturer’ in one of his autobiographies, has in the past become irritated by his rival’s style of play.
And while Selby is not given to outbursts and public slanging matches, some of the comments emanating from O’Sullivan on that subject stung and were duly noted.
As he has admitted since, if there was a script for how he would win a first world title, it would have seen him taking on O’Sullivan in a Crucible final, and engineering a trademark comeback.
So it came to pass, and there is absolutely no doubt that in Selby’s case whenever he reflects on those 17 days that changed his life, the fact he did it in the final against O’Sullivan makes it better.
All players are different. Maybe there are some that would privately and not so privately be far happier for O’Sullivan, or back in the day Stephen Hendry or Steve Davis to go out in the first round.
Your chances of overall success are less with them in the draw, but the opportunity for a famous victory that makes more waves and will live longer in the memory can disappear with their exit.
Everyone will have their own examples from snooker where the success, sometimes unexpected, came against the best player and was all the more notable for that fact.
Ken Doherty beating Hendry to win the world title in 1997 springs to mind, with the Scot still at the peak of his powers and gunning for that seventh crown he was to get two years later.
For Selby O’Sullivan has more than once delivered him that extra satisfaction – for his first ranking title in Wales in 2008, and in the Masters final of 2010 as well as two years ago in Sheffield.
Peter Ebdon would have wanted to beat Hendry in his world title year more than any other, even if his opponent was not at the absolute peak of his powers by 2002.
And Stuart Bingham can never have anyone say ‘But you didn’t beat Ronnie’ for his success last season, having not only accounted for O’Sullivan but also the two other players to have played the best during the tournament in Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy.
Dennis Taylor and Joe Johnson, of course, both beat the then all-conquering Davis for their big moments and O’Sullivan himself beat Hendry in both the 1993 and 1997 UK Championship finals, something that then and now means a lot to him.
For all that this may be true, try telling it to the winner of this week’s German Masters. Yes, there may be no O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Neil Robertson or Ding Junhui at the venue. But as those who made it will testify, they had their chance and you can only beat what’s in front of you.
Photographs courtesy of Monique Limbos