Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘Winning the World Championship has always seemed an anticlimax to me’

Defending champion not overly excited about return to the Crucible

 Ronnie O’Sullivan goes in search of a seventh world snooker title to level up with Stephen Hendry’s record haul. Photograph:  George Wood/Getty Images

Ronnie O’Sullivan goes in search of a seventh world snooker title to level up with Stephen Hendry’s record haul. Photograph: George Wood/Getty Images

 

Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he could not care less about the prospect of equalling Stephen Hendry’s record of seven Crucible crowns as he prepares to begin the defence of his world snooker title.

In a sign the 45-year-old might be falling out of love with the game again, he went on to admit he would prefer to adopt a non-playing role in the tournament and described how he would treat his time in Sheffield as a “holiday”.

O’Sullivan said: “Winning the World Championship has always seemed an anticlimax to me, the same as walking out as defending champion. It is what it is, it either floats your boat or it doesn’t.

“I wish I shared your excitement about going for my seventh [title], but I don’t. It suits my lifestyle, and playing snooker is probably the one part of it that I like the least.

“If I could not play, that would be great, and I could just take the other benefits of snooker, but I suppose you’re never going to love 100 per cent of what you do, so I just have to suck it up and get through some of the playing parts.”

O’Sullivan soared to his sixth title late last year but has had a frustrating season by his own unprecedented standards, losing all five finals in which he has played including thumping defeats by Neil Robertson and John Higgins.

And while his easy final win over Kyren Wilson remains fresh in the mind, thoughts also inevitably drift back to the last time he faced a debutant in the draw, and was stunned by James Cahill the previous year.

Recalling his own first appearance in the tournament as a 17-year-old in 1993, when he lost to Alan McManus, O’Sullivan added: “When I first came here I found it quite strange, because you build up going to the Crucible and I didn’t perform that great – I don’t know why.”

O’Sullivan blamed a “low boredom threshold” for his dislike of the 17-day slog in Sheffield, but having opened a bespoke shop in the nearby Meadowhall shopping centre earlier this month, he is bound to have plenty to occupy himself for the duration of his stay.

“I’m just here to enjoy it,” added O’Sullivan. “If I wasn’t to do well in the tournament it’s not the end of the world. I’ve got the shop and I’ve got some great running routes and it’s just like a holiday.

“I’ve just got to go and hit a few balls – I’d rather not, but that is part of the job I suppose. It’s always a grind here, and sometimes the earlier it’s over the better.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.