Ronnie O’Sullivan turns 40 on Saturday – and gets to celebrate in the glamorous environs of the Eurosport TV studios on a trading estate in Feltham.
No doubt week-long companions Colin Murray and Jimmy White, and perhaps even Ronnie Wood and his dog if they drop in again, willhave something suitably special planned.
The five-time world champion, of course, last week revealed that he is to end his latest sabbatical by playing in December’s qualifiers in Wigan, and also January’s Masters at Alexandra Palace.
Given the rollercoaster ride O’Sullivan has endured during his 24-year professional career, many might be surprised that he is still even in the mix at all.
The spotlight and pressure of being the sport’s No1 box office star has been relentless, but throughout it all with the odd barren patch the title s have come, and the brilliance shone through.
Those who know O’Sullivan well and see him often believe that the enjoyment has been rekindled from seven months playing Legends shows and club exhibitions.
But speaking about his own milestone birthday, O’Sullivan said: “Turning 40, I think it is important to keep some perspective. If I never played another match I will be very happy with what I have done in snooker.
“It has exceeded all my expectations and achieved everything and much, much more I hoped might happen when I set out along the road 23 years ago.
“At the same time I do genuinely believe that by taking the time out that I have in the past, and maybe again now, you can give yourself greater longevity.
“The idea of being 40 is pretty scary to me in some ways. Hitting 40 I am thinking Jesus, I am halfway there, or hopefully anyway.
“But I think I am a fairly fit 40-year-old, so maybe I shouldn’t be too worried.
“My birthday is on the Saturday of the semi-finals, and I’m sure Colin Murray and Jimmy will get me sorted out with something in the studio.
“Forget the cake, I’ll have a chicken salad, I’m back trying to watch the diet at the moment.”
As predicted bu Hector, Jimmy and Colin did something special …
MissingClip Ronnie’s 40th birthday