In his latest Eurosport blog with Desmond Kane, Ronnie reflects on yesterday’s defeat and on his game.
Ronnie O’Sullivan return: Getting thumped a few times might be best thing for me
By Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan made his return to competitive snooker after an eight-month absence over the weekend. He beat Hamza Akbar 5-1 before losing 5-3 to world number 62 Stuart Carrington in the second round of qualifying for the German Masters on Sunday. Here the five-times world champion tells Desmond Kane what he thinks he needs to do to improve ahead of next month’s Masters at Alexandra Palace.
My first match back wasn’t great I must admit, but it is not all bad. I lost 5-3 to Stuart Carrington in the German Masters qualifiers when he played some good solid stuff. What was pleasing to me is that before meeting and working with (sports psychiatrist) Dr Steve Peters, I would have been savage on myself over a performance like that. I can play poorly these days and not get angry with myself. I’m good at playing badly, and putting the bad shots behind me.
That is something I’m really proud about and never thought possible. It has taken a massive shift in my thought process, and something I would like to pursue in helping other people achieve what they want from the game.
It’s the best thing I have done, and overcome in my life. Everyone knows how hard I used to be on myself, and I’m sure everyone has seen the difference In my attitude towards the game and myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fierce competitor, but I’m able to see the bigger picture. Having looked back on the game, I can see where I’m not match tight. I looked too relaxed, and not taking enough care over my shot. I suppose that is a combination of no matches, and a lot exhibition stuff. I actually played better than I thought I would. I knew I wasn’t sharp, but had to do the best with what I had. I managed to hang on until the interval then Stuart made two great frame-winning breaks to go 4-2 up. I managed to nick a frame to go 4-3 behind, but lost in the end. In saying that, I feel much better for having had two matches under tournament conditions.
I feel like I have something to build on so it is going to be a nice Christmas off now, and I’m really looking forward to the Champions League event at Crondon Park early in the New Year before the Masters. I have to say this is probably one of my favourite events. It is pure snooker, three short matches in one day, and just what I need at the moment. I’ll probably get my a*** smacked by the other guys, but that’s what I need at the moment – a few tough matches. I’m not too disappointed at losing. I’m sure playing a few matches in tournaments will increase my level of performance, which in turn will make me play better in the exhibition matches I have coming up.
Every time I play a competition, I play with the intention of raising my levels to the highest level I can reach. Practice doesn’t give you that edge you need to play well. Only competitions do that. This loss again goes to show that it’s been over a year since I last won anything, my performances have not been great since winning the 2014 Welsh Open.
I’m kind of thinking that my regular winning days are probably behind me. Results don’t lie, and my results have not been great in the past 12 months. If I have another 12 months like this, I will be out of the top sixteen. I really do think the standard has either risen or mine’s got worse – I’m not sure which is the case. I hope I’m not deluding myself into thinking I’m better than I actually am. If I am, I would want someone to tell me.
In his final blog of the year on Tuesday, Ronnie will ahead to 2016, and what he expects from his main rivals.