Ronnie O’Sullivan is in Eastern Europe for exhibition matches before he joins Jimmy White as a full-time pundit in the Eurosport studio for the UK Championship. O’Sullivan won the UK title last year with a 10-9 win over Judd Trump, but has not played a competitive match since April. In his latest blog, he tells Desmond Kane he is thinking about a future without the stress of vying for titles.
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I’m trying different things at the moment. Anyone that’s coming to the end of their career has to think about the future, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past three or four years. I’ve been planning what my next 15-20 years will be, and how I’d like them to be.
It’s been tough at times, but I truly feel I have a good idea of what it is I want. I don’t want the pressure of being the top man in snooker any more. I feel that should be left to the new generation of players.
I do want a place within the sport, and I’m trying to fathom what that place is.
It’s funny really. I’m actually enjoying my practice more then ever. I play for fun now. I still try to be the best I can be, but I don’t have to be so serious about being so committed to it.
I fit the time in when I feel like it. Me and my mates play a lot these days.
I give them 80-100 start, and it’s not easy to beat them, but I love the challenge. We have a laugh, and I’m always buzzing because you get lots of chances, and I don’t have to pick balls out that much, which is a bonus.
I know my game is way off where it should be in certain aspects. That’s natural as I’ve not played competitively for over seven months, but I can still pot a few.
My safety game would need sharpening up, but that would come from a few competitive matches.
My long game could also be better, but in the balls I still feel good, and that’s what keeps me going. I can make breaks and create opportunities. That’s what I love.
I also attended my first Q&A session with the fans the other day, and that was great, nice meal, good chat, told some funny stories, and was home in time to watch the football.
ENTERTAINING EASTERN EUROPE WITH JIMMY AND STUART
I’m off to Bulgaria this week to play Jimmy White, which will be fun. I always enjoy the trips around Europe. It’s a great chance to experience different cultures.
Everywhere we go, the people really do make us feel very welcome, and I can’t thank them enough for allowing me the opportunity to perform and entertain.
It’s a two-way street because without the fans there is no buzz.
After Bulgaria, we travel to Romania. I have two nights playing the world champion Stuart Bingham in Bucharest. I know people in Romania are very excited about our arrival, and again it’s a great opportunity to play in front of a new crowd.
It will be my first trip to Romania, and one I’m really excited about.
It’s great that snooker has gone global. it has given the players greater areas to explore, and we now know places are gasping to see top snooker players play, and it’s a great platform to use to showcase the sport.
So that is it for now. I will give you a report on my travels once I’m back.
Ronnie will provide expert analysis alongside Jimmy White and host Colin Murray of the UK Championship from November 28 until December 6 at York’s Barbican Centre on Eurosport. It is his first experience of tournament-long punditry adding to the exclusive ‘Ronnie O’Sullivan Show’ already broadcast on Eurosport.