Article by Syed Asrarullah
Ronnie O’Sullivan has been nonchalant about his chances, underlining that he wasn’t even sure of entering the biggest snooker event this season but at the same time admitting that he would love to equal his hero, Steve Davis’ record of six World Snooker Championship titles.
“I am very competitive and, of course, I want a sixth and even a seventh world title,” said O'Sullivan.
Having only won two trophies this season, the Champion of Champions and a fifth UK Championship title, it might be easy to write him off given his form of late and his temperament but it is “The Rocket” Ronnie O’Sullivan we are talking about; when snooker is concerned, he is ALWAYS the top dog!
Winning the World Snooker Championship first in 2001 and lifting the trophy on four more occasions later on, Ronnie has come a long way. In 2014, Ronnie stated that he deserves to be called as snooker’s greatest player ever only if he passes Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles.
He fell short last year, losing to Mark Selby in the final with a score of 14-18. He was graceful during the post-match interview and praised Mark Selby for playing a tough game and beating him through but not for an interview with The Guardian where he said he preferred losing (if it had to be that way) to someone like Ding Junhui rather than Mark Selby.
“I get baffled watching Selby. It’s effective but his white ball is all over the place and sometimes you think he’s gonna clear up and then he’s out of position. It’s an unsettling style.”
The beauty about Ronnie O’Sullivan is that he’s probably the safest guy to hang around with on tour. He speaks his mind, doesn’t mince his words and calls a spade, a spade. But in other news, he is a huge mystery too. In his newest autobiography, 'Running', he calls snooker “the sport that sometimes I detest so much I can't bear to look at a cue; the sport that has been the love of my life”. He praises his game and performance after a few good matches at The Championship League at Crondon Park, but is immediately extremely self-critical after losing out to Neil Robertson in The German Masters.
He writes a blog for EuroSport praising Barry Hearn’s approach in promoting the game across the globe and opening up more opportunities for players but at the same time is critical of Hearn not paying heed to his suggestions and hates the way the sport is progressing under him.
“I’ve had chats with Barry Hearn and he ain’t gonna change it. He said, “Come on, let’s have a meeting.” But I’ve had enough chat. I know Barry has got his own mindset. It doesn’t suit me.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan doesn’t practice as frequently as he used to, admitting it is only “about two hours a week” as he tries to fill up the day with other things just so that he doesn’t have to play snooker. He has stopped meeting Dr. Steve Peters regularly, the man whom he credits heavily for turning his game around and helping him fight his depression demons.
He finds himself busy with many events and activities apart from snooker such as him helping launch 147coffee.com and exchanging blows with his boxing partners at the gym. He’s the EuroSport brand ambassador for snooker where he helps make The Ronnie O’Sullivan Show, sat as a pundit during the German Masters and pens his thoughts on his blog about snooker and things that matter to him.
Meanwhile, there is a lot of excitement in the air as the World Snooker Championship 2015 starts today in the Crucible theatre at Sheffield. Like every other player, Ronnie O’Sullivan will be upbeat as well, wishing to be the only third person in modern snooker history to win the title for the sixth time, apart from Steve Davis and Ray Reardon.
He’s drawn against World No. 81 Craig Steadman in the first round. Craig, with this being his first time at the Crucible, understands the jitters when it comes to playing inside the Crucible Theatre, especially against someone like Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“I have played on TV a few times but nothing to compare with playing Ronnie at the Crucible,” said Steadman.
Current World No.8 Shaun Murphy acknowledges the fact that Ronnie is indeed the top draw at the Crucible, “Ronnie will be the man to beat again this year, just as he is every time he picks his cue up. Whenever he says he's not bothered about winning, that means he's really keen ... He's as hungry to win as anybody,” added Murphy.
In the latest Ronnie O’Sullivan Show, the Rocket spoke to TalkSport's Andy Goldstein about how he’s ready to go out there at the World Snooker Championship and give it his best shot while being competitive at the same time. He might as well, you know, for you have to believe Stephen Hendry when he says“O'Sullivan is the best player in the world by a country mile.”
They don’t call him a genius for nothing!
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