Miscellaneous Ronnie news …

Ronnie will face Barry Hawkins in the last 16 of the Wotld Championship 2016, the first of their (possibly) three sessions is scheduled on Saturday, 23 April, at 14:30.

Following his snub of his media duties, after his last 32 match, Ronnie has been formally warned, but not otherwise punished. Here is Worldsnooker statement as reported by the Guardian

In a statement, World Snooker said: “Ronnie O’Sullivan has received a formal warning from World Snooker following his failure to fulfil media obligations at the Betfred World Championship on Monday.

“This is in line with World Snooker procedure as it is his first breach of contract this season. Any further breaches will result in a fine and possible referral to the WPBSA [World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association].”

It has to be stressed that Ronnie has very rarely refused to fulfill his media duties over the years, as reported by Hector Nunns, but as ever, when it’s about him it’s always big news.
There are other players who are a bit of “serial offenders” in the matter but it barely hits the news …

Meanwhile we can also enjoy some funny videos courtesy of Eurosport …

Ronnie launches the colours challenge on Eurosport

Ronnie’s desert island picks

MissingClip

Steve Davis retires…

Yesterday, just before the start of Ronnie’s match, Rob Walker announced that the legend that is Steve Davis was retiring from the game. Steve got a vibrant tribute by the crowd in the Crucible arena. I took a few pictures.

And I leave it to Hector Nunns on  inside-snooker, who writes far better that I do, to express how the snooker community is feeling after hearing the news.

STEVE DAVIS OBE – AN APPRECIATION

Hector Nunns April 18, 2016

When it came, it was an emotional occasion for all concerned and the tributes were fitting and so fully deserved as Steve Davis finally called time on a glittering 38-year career.

Within the snooker bubble the actual announcement may have been felt less keenly, as to all intents and purposes the six-time world champion has been playing at best part-time for many years.

But the finality triggered an outpouring of appreciation across the board for man that spanned the decades, and had become not only a national treasure but part of the sporting landscape.

Steve Davis – player, professional, winner, champion, world No1, ambassador, legend, enthusiast, reality TV star, radio presenter and techno DJ.

And how they cheered him in the arena on Sunday, parading the famous trophy that he won so many so many times in the Crucible arena.

As a player, the rise was inexorable. After turning pro in 1978 Davis made his first Crucible appearance that season, losing to Dennis Taylor 13-11 – a portent of at least one big match to come in the same venue.

Then the following year he knocked out the defending champion Terry Griffiths before eventually losing to Higgins in the quarter-finals. A first major title came later that year at the UK Championship, and from then the trophies came along at regular intervals for 10 years.

Images such as friend, manager, and now World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn rushing in to the arena to give a startled Davis a bear hug after his first world title win in 1981 remain some of the most iconic in sport. It is a partnership that has endured 40 years, with huge success.

Davis left hoping he was the “grandfather” of the sport – with his image transformed from ruthless winning machine to national treasure. Winner of a record 81 trophies in all, he said: “To some degree it tied in to my father passing away recently and it’s the team thing.

“So it’s time to call it a day, he made it to 89, which is a bigger break than I made in that recent qualifier against Fergal [O’Brien]. That was the first match without my father.

“I think it’s a natural time to stop playing now. I should have done it ages ago, I think I played a bit for my father as well.

“I am delighted to have had such a great time in the game. You are lucky that your hobby becomes your profession. It’s been a fantastic journey and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

“It’s really lovely to feel like the grandfather of the game. Probably losing that 1985 final to Dennis Taylor was a great moment for me, people are excited when a shock happens.

“Stephen Hendry and I both agreed that we missed the days when we were booed in.

“At one time as the hottest prospect during the 80s I thought I could walk on water. Then Stephen Hendry came along, took my sweets and the 90s were just awful for me.

“Five years ago beating John Higgins at the Crucible was just the most amazing match I’ve ever played. When you’re not supposed to win and you do, it’s the most amazing feeling.”

For all the success, Davis might just be best known, certainly to the wider public, for a match he lost rather than won. That of course was the 1985 black-ball world final, where he lost 18-17 to Dennis Taylor in a 68-minute decider watched by 18.5million viewers at 12.20am.

And for former foe and now fellow BBC pundit Taylor, there was recognition of the legacy Davis leaves for those still competing.

“Steve raised the bar for all of us, no one practiced seven hours a day, seven days a week before him but we had to change,” Taylor said.

 “He was an inspiration for those that followed too, the Hendrys, John Higgins, O’Sullivans. Steve says himself that he is almost better known and remembers himself that 1985 final more than many of the ones he won and other titles.

“Both of us were just lucky enough to have been involved in something amazing that people still talk about 31 years later.”

You could not escape the Nugget as a child in the early 1980s, and I must confess at that time I was in the Jimmy White/Alex Higgins/Tony Knowles camp whenever he met them.

Perhaps with nothing else on which to base my judgment I fell for the image – the dour, ruthless winning machine so played up by the media. And not entirely without foundation.

But one of the privileges of later becoming a journalist and covering this sport was to realise that over the course of many interviews and conversations that Davis either never was, or certainly is not now, that person.

For me, back in the days when it was a straight public vote rather than the bizarre and agenda-driven shortlist of these days, his record in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year annual knees-up was extraordinary.

Winner in 1988 ahead of people like Adrian Moorhouse and Sandy Lyle after his Masters triumph, Davis finished in the top three and on the podium five times in all. Not bad for someone with ‘no personality’.  

That myth has continued to be debunked by the way Davis coped with being lampooned on Spitting Image, appearances on A Question of Sport and more recently in the Australian jungle on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, presenting music shows on local radio and a turn as a techno DJ known as ‘DJ Thundermuscle’.

The Nugget – gone, but really still here and at least partially responsible for players now being able to earn a decent living from the game.

Crucible 2016: Ronnie beats David Gilbert by 10-7 in the last 32

Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) 10-7 David Gilbert (Eng)

Scores (Ronnie first): 35-67; 73(72)-5; 84(84)-0; 86(71)-46; 5-117(91); 76-56(56); 0-125(125); 80-49; 95(71)-22; 0-130(60,62); 75-47; 124(101)-0; 25-74; 47-66(61); 96(51)-4; 0-71(71); 76(72)-0

Referee: Jan Verhaas

Ronnie was given a tough game by David Gilbert, especially today in the second session. He won the first session by 6-3, and one could argue that David Gilbert had been a bit unlucky at times, especially when developping the pack, and the score could have been closer. Today, it was Ronnie who was a bit unlucky, also whilst trying to develop the pack, but he stayed patient and applied himself to eventually win 10-7. Overall his safety game was excellent.

Here are the match stats after 16 frames. As you can see not too shabby from either.

Ronnie-GilbertL32Stats.png

However, Ronnie refused to attend the post-match press conference, and he will almost certainly be disciplined for it. This comes as a surprise as Ronnie had fulfilled all his media duties on the “press day”, last Friday, and had no issues with the media whatsoever.

after the match Gilbert said:

“That is probably the best I’ll ever play without winning a game of snooker.

“It was an honour to play the legend that is Ronnie O’Sullivan. I know he wasn’t quite on top of his game but I feel like I learned a lot and I’ve got nothing to be disgraced about.

“There’s not a lot you can worry about when you play against Ronnie because you just expect to get punished every time something doesn’t go your way.”

source : the Guardian

You can watch the match again, plus some punditry here

Session 1:

MissingClip  2016 WSC: Ronnie O’Sullivan interview (Eurosport)

MissingClip 2016 WSC: Ronnie O’Sullivan interview (BBC)

MissingClip 2016 WSC: Ronnie O’Sullivan trailer (Eurosport)

2016 WSC: Ronnie O’Sullivan – David Gilbert 1st session

Session 2:

MissingClip 2016 WSC: preview of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – David Gilbert match (Session2, BBC)

2016 WSC: Ronnie O’Sullivan – David Gilbert 2nd session

Here re a few images from the match: the action pictures taken during the match are by Tai Chengzhe – thank you Tai- the ones taken before and after the match are mine

Ronnie Eurosport Show latest

Here is the latest Ronnie Show on Eurosport, that got out yesterday on the first day of the World Champioship 2016.

In part 1,  Ronnie is interviewed by Andy Goldstein about his game, what he expects, and his hopes for the World Championship. Basically at this stage of his carreer, Ronnie wants to enjoy himself as well as entertain. Of course he still wants to win, but he’s not all about winning and he tells us why.

In part 2, Ronnie analyses that 73 clearance he made at the Masters to win his QF match against Mark Selby. He also pays a visit to the Star Academy in Sheffield, to meet the coaches, and discuss what it takes to develop young talents

A very, very interesting show, and one that answers the questions fans might have when reading the press yesterday and today; there are articles around claiming that winning isn’t that important to Ronnie, others going about him not having the drive Stephen Hendry had … well the answers are here, given by Ronnie himself in his own words.

Today Ronnie will start his Crucible 2016 campaign against a very, very capable player. Make no mistake, David Gilbert can play and he’s match sharp whilst Ronnie, like all seeds, will come here cold and with all the pressure. There is nothing that guarantees that Ronnie will win, and if he doesn’t, it won’t mean that he didn’t care or didn’t try. Players are no robots, run to the table to play and win. They are humans, with their good and less good days, their hopes and their fears. Fans should always remember that.

Anyway, GOOD LUCK RONNIE.

Great, Greats and Greatest …

Who is the greatest? What does it take to be a great? Those questions have probably triggered more heated debates on the social media than any other theme.

Well here is Ronnie’s take on it.

First in an interview with Shamoon Haafez from BBC he explains what he thinks makes a player a “great” and why he believes he is in that category. Here are excerpts of the article:

Ronnie O’Sullivan says his combination of winning and entertaining the crowd means he should be considered one of snooker’s greats.

“That is what makes me unique and separates me from the others,” O’Sullivan, 40, told BBC Sport.

“Watching sport, I am a winner’s man but I like to be entertained too. You have hit the jackpot if you have both.”

….

“I am not saying I am the greatest – that would be too big-headed to have as an opinion of myself. I will leave that for other people to decide,” added world number six O’Sullivan.

“If I was to stake my case for reasons why I should be considered as one of the greats, I would like to think I entertain the fans like Jimmy White and Alex Higgins did, being the fans’ favourite.

“I have also done what Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis did, which is dominate and claim world titles and be a winner.

“I can possibly reach 36 ranking events – that’s winning two a year if I play for the next five years. I could do that, which is more realistic than winning seven world titles.”

Next, on Eurosport, he picked his “greatest” for each and every aspect of the game…

You can watch the video here

For those who don’t know them, his two unsung heroes are the ladies at Worldsnooker who tirelessly look after the players needs, bringing them drinks, finding bowties when the players forget theirs (Ronnie is a regular culprit), sewing logos on waistcoats last minute … you name it! And always with a smile.

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’.”

Steve Davis, Steve Peters and Barry Hearn talk about Ronnie

The Evening Standard has today published this triple interview, discussing why Ronnie is the best player of his generation.

What makes Ronnie O’Sullivan the best player of his generation and the man to beat at the Snooker World Championships?

ronnieosullivan1504

Rocket Man: Ronnie O’Sullivan ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Ronnie O’Sullivan is bidding to become the first player in his forties to win a world title since Ray Reardon achieved the sixth of his victories in 1978.

The 40-year-old is the clear favourite for the Crucible at odds of 7-4 to match the six world titles of Reardon and Steve Davis when the tournament gets under way tomorrow.

Ahead of his first-round encounter against David Gilbert, Standard Sport spoke to Davis and others close to O’Sullivan to ask what makes him the best player of his generation and why he is the man to beat.

BBC PUNDIT STEVE DAVIS

“I’ve never seen anybody who looks as at one with the table as Ronnie. It’s the epitome of someone born to play the game.

“We’ve had great players and great talents but no one approaches the table so wonderfully as he does prowling around it. It just looks like he’s found the one thing that he’s perfect at.

“I’ve seen some great players but Ronnie’s on another level with wonderful technique and he’s a great match player as well. Everything’s on another level. Snooker is a very hard game which he makes look very easy.

“I don’t know how many years in the game he has left. I think he’s capable of winning tournaments when he’s 50. He has a special gene, I think, which means he could last longer than most if he wants to. 

“He could still be doing it in the top in 10 years’ time. The big question is does he want to?

“I don’t necessarily expect him to win the World Championship but he’s got a fantastic chance as he’s in great form. The biggest threat is himself, I’d guess. If he has his head on his shoulders, because it lasts so long and there’s a lot of downtime and time to fill, he has to be the favourite.

“I think if he was to beat Stephen Hendry’s record of seven wins  he needed to do it last year. It’s very realistic he equals mine and Ray’s  six but, as the years go on, to get eight is hard.”

PSYCHIATRIST STEVE PETERS

“It must have been 2011 that I first met him two weeks before the World Championship, so we couldn’t really do anything in that time. But I worked with him after that and he won the next two world titles.

“We hit it off straight away. I work with a lot of people and the key is to put the work in. He was and still is amazing for that. 

“He was challenging at the beginning but he was very keen to get it right. Within days he got it. He’s very good at working on his emotional skills.

“We still sit down face to face, text, phone, Skype and FaceTime. He’s a very, very good student. 

“If you look at anybody there are life stresses and we deal with it differently. You have to learn the skill to deal with those things. He’s an emotional man and we’ve worked on managing those emotions. 

“As for how he compares to other people I’ve worked with like Chris Hoy or Victoria Pendleton, I can’t compare. That’s like asking me to compare children. He’s a very unique person. There’s no recipe or menu — you have to work as a team to find out how his mind works.

“He’s scrutinised a lot and he’s a very open character. He’s like an open book so he speaks his mind but I think sometimes it gives a false impression of what’s going on. What he says in front of the cameras might actually be very different to how he properly feels afterwards if he talks it through.

“A lot of people have a perception of Ronnie and some people might see him as disorganised and fleeting. I see a very different side, I see a driven man who’ll be very organised and disciplined once he decides to do something. It’s the same with his running.

“He’s in a good place. It’s a privilege to work with him. I just can’t fault him. When I first met him I asked him about his dreams and ambitions. One of the things I wanted him to do was win a world title aged 40. It was a bit tongue in cheek but there was some seriousness there, too.”

PROMOTER BARRY HEARN

“Ronnie’s the best we’ve ever seen. He has the skills of an Alex Higgins or Jimmy White with the consistency and safety of a Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry. When he’s concentrating and he’s got his head on, he’s unbeatable. He stands like a colossus over the game. No one is bigger than the sport but Ronnie gets as close as anyone. He’s like Tiger Woods or Phil Taylor at their peak.

“I first saw him when he was 12 or 13 and he was already a precocious talent but it was difficult to judge how good he would turn out to be. 

“I’ve seen a lot of talented youngsters but his parents were very supportive — almost spoilt him a bit. 

“He exemplifies how you think the game should be played, not just from the creative sense and technical sense but the excitement watching him. He’s magic. Ronnie, like Higgins, has that vulnerability and I think that almost adds to his popularity.

“Everyone sees this swashbuckling Ronnie but the other side is the guy that will do five or six hours of practice at the table a day ahead of the Crucible.

“The World Championship is tough as it’s a long one at 17 days. The young players are like birds of prey and Ronnie’s the biggest scalp. People say he’ll leave a void but that void is always filled. He is the most special of talents. He gives me grey hairs sometimes.”