Ronnie’s recipe to boost his chances: his close friends

Speaking to Hector Nunns Ronnie explains how he will rely on his close friends only to help him through this World Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan confident his inner circle can help him win sixth world title

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN is confident the ‘Three Amigos’ in his corner can help him to a sixth world title.

By Hector Nunns / Published 15th April 2016

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GETTY – THREESY DOES IT: Ronnie O’Sullivan has cut down his team to just his inner circle

The Rocket is a hot favourite to lift the Betfred World Championship trophy at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, which starts today.

O’Sullivan, 40, starts his campaign tomorrow against former potato farmer Dave Gilbert.

But O’Sullivan revealed he has slashed his trusted entourage to Dr Steve Peters, Damien Hirst, and Chinese takeaway owner ‘Kenno’.

The Essex-based chef has two restaurants, in O’Sullivan’s home of Chigwell and Chingford.

And O’Sullivan, who has cantered to victory at the Masters and Welsh Open this year, says he relies heavily on all three of his back-up team.

He said: “At times with me it can become a bit of a circus with all the people who want to be there, at the Masters and the Crucible.

“I don’t need it. Now it is just my inner circle, Damien, Steve and my Chinese mate Kenno. I don’t want anyone else around me.

“At times I have had about 15 people in my dressing room in Sheffield, and you have seen the size of them.

“Kenno is like a spiritual healer, he is one of the calmest blokes in the world, and one of my best mates. He’ll be here for a match or two if I progress.

“I don’t want anyone around who is draining me of my energy, or who wants something from me, a signed ball or a waistcoat, then it’s over.

“Damien has never asked me for anything. Steve Peters has never asked for anything. Kenno has never asked me for anything, they are there for the right reasons.

“I have an inner circle, they are people I would trust with my life, who have got my back 24/7 for the right reasons.

“I have made a lot of mistakes over the years by being too open, but I am more selective now – more like Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry were.”

O’Sullivan, whose last win was three years ago, admits that good pal Jimmy White lived tournament life swamped by well-wishers for years and that it may have cost him Crucible glory.

He added: “Jimmy was more like me, he had a dressing room full of 20 to 30 people because he didn’t know how to say no, and maybe it didn’t help him.

“When you’re flying everyone wants to be there, when you’re not they are gone. Damien is there for the whole thing, he feels what I am feeling.

“So if a load of people turn up for a final, they don’t know what it has been like in the goldfish bowl and don’t know what buzz I am on.

“I don’t talk very much about past defeats – but last year was a bad loss for me to Stuart Bingham, I wasn’t in a good frame of mind.

“The Selby final the year before, I think I should have won it. Again I was trying to keep everyone happy off the table, I should have said ‘No, no, no – I am here to play a tournament’.”