Steve Davis worries …

Steve Davis is delighted at Ronnie’s comeback

Steve Davis fears Ronnie O’Sullivan will follow through on threats and retire from snooker

STEVE DAVIS has revealed his fears that Ronnie O’Sullivan was finally going to follow through on regular quit threats and retire from snooker.

PUBLISHED: 00:02, Wed, Dec 2, 2015

Ronnie O'SullivanGETTY

Ronnie O’Sullivan has not played a competitive match since April

The Rocket has not played a competitive match since April, when he lost to Stuart Bingham at the World Championship.

But the five-time world champion has announced he will return to action at January’s Masters at Alexandra Palace, and try to qualify for Berlin’s German Masters.

O’Sullivan, 40 on Saturday and a Eurosport TV pundit for the Betway UK Championship, once took almost a whole season off before roaring back to win his fifth Crucible crown.

Steve DavisGETTY

Steve Davis fears that O’Sullivan will retire from professional snooker

And in 24 years on tour he has taken other breaks, skipped events in the Far East and issued many retirement threats.

Six-time world champion Davis, 58, had heard it all before, however this time was genuinely worried it could have been the end of O’Sullivan’s glittering career.

“I am delighted he is back because I had started to fear that Ronnie had lost his competitive mojo,” said Davis. “I wondered if he had the stomach for it any more, basically not liking the fact that he was getting beaten more. So there was a real concern that maybe the writing was on the wall.

Ronnie O'Sullivan GETTY

O’Sullivan has announced he will return in January at the Masters

“Perhaps that is the case still, he won’t have it all his own way. But what is great is that he is coming back to the fray. It would have been sad if such a talented player had retired just because he was getting beaten in a few matches.

“I can completely understand why watching the UK this week has made him want to play. It’s like the public heading out to play when a major event is on. It can inspire a professional too.”

O’Sullivan said: “I’ve been watching the snooker this week and realised that I have been missing it. And this year I have enjoyed most playing in clubs.

“I grew up in those places. It feels like you are in a huge band and going back to play in some tiny venue where you started off, the Cavern Club or something like that – going back in time.”

World No4 Shaun Murphy eased into the last 16 with an attacking display to beat Ben Woollaston 6-2 yesterday at York’s Barbican Centre.