In our exclusive Q&A, the Rocket discusses the Betway UK Championship and his return to snooker after a nine-month absence
O’Sullivan has worked as a pundit for Eurosport throughout the tournament, though, and delivered a significant news line of his own by confirming his return to the sport at the Masters next month.
In an exclusive Q&A with the Betway Insider, the Rocket discusses his role as a broadcaster, what he has missed most about the game and whether there are any regrets about skipping such a prestigious event.
How much have you enjoyed your role as a pundit during the tournament?
ROS: Working with Eurosport as a pundit for the UK Championship has been great – I’ve really enjoyed it.
I’ve always been interested in the media side of sport and I’m enjoying learning something new and seeing how the production side of the tournaments comes together.
Which is harder – playing snooker or live broadcasting?
ROS: They’re just completely different so it’s impossible to compare them, really.
Playing snooker has been my life for so long that it’s second nature to me now.
Broadcasting is new to me and slightly out of the comfort zone but it’s a different kind of pressure to competing in the tournament.
And which is more enjoyable?
ROS: That depends on whether I’m playing well or not. Winning is always fun!
Was it watching this week that made you realised you missed playing?
ROS: It wasn’t anything specific about this week, really.
I always miss snooker when I’m not playing because I enjoy the competitive side of it and challenging myself against the best in the world.
The UK Championship is one of the biggest events in world snooker, so it’s always a pleasure to be involved.
How excited are you to be making your competitive return next month?
ROS: I’m looking forward to getting back on the tour and competing again.
It’s going to be tough because the standard is so high now but I’ve really got the buzz back.
Do you wish you were playing this week? And how do you think you’d have fared if you were?
ROS: I don’t necessarily regret not playing at the moment as it was choice to have a break and also recover from an injury.
If I had played this week it’s hard to predict how I’d have done.
I’ve not been practising as much as I’d like and the general standard of the guys has been so high, but on my day I always back myself against anyone.
You’ve said you’ll play a limited amount of tournaments in the future. Will next year’s UK Championship be one of them?
ROS: I’d like to play the biggest tournaments and the UK Championship is definitely one of them.
It’s one of my favourite tournaments of the year so it would be great to be back again next year trying to win the event.