Ronnie in the media today …

Ronnie isn’t playing today, but he’s very much present in the media …

He was on BBC5 radio and you can listen to this snippet about how it was to grow up with both parents in jail.

Desmond Kane, from Eurosport, wrote about Ronnie and John Higgins 24 years old rivalry

Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and a magical 24-year rivalry unique to sport

John Higgins completed a 10-7 win over Ronnie O’Sullivan in a Champion of Champions final that provided a reminder why both men are true giants of their sport, writes Desmond Kane.

It is probably fitting to be evergreen on the green baize even if professional snooker has no room for sentiment.

When it is your time, it is your time. The aging process, terminal loss of form and the rise of younger, hungrier foes tend to drag you kicking and screaming from the sport when you are on the decline. Whether you like it or not.

It is a fact of life that has already bamboozled sadly retired icons such as Stephen Hendry, who lifted the last of his seven world championships in Sheffield aged 30, and Steve Davis, who had to grapple with an obvious loss of consistency in his 30s after winning a sixth and final world title in 1989.

Snooker’s shot clock remains unforgiving. Yet there are those who seem to be strangely protected by some sort of time-reversing emollient, a magical elixir that means age will not wither them.

The sight of Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins contesting a major snooker final does not sound like anything out of the blue amid their addiction to potting blacks

With nine world titles, eight UK Championships and eight Masters between them, it might sound a bit like the norm for two figures who have become public faces and multi-millionaires on the back of mastering the curious art of potting balls with a wooden stick.

Then you consider their longevity, and you begin to appreciate such greatness is far from standard fare. A bit like the exceptional tariff they place on their somewhat peculiar calling in lives.

Both men turned professional in 1992, have a combined age of 81 and contested their first and last World Championship 15 years ago which O’Sullivan won 18-14 for the first of his five world titles.

Not only are they rolling back the years, they also continue to roll in the balls with no signs of decline or decrepitness normally associated with their third decade in the sport.

They were sent to Coventry over the past few days to illustrate why they both remain very special.

The invitational Champion of Champions final at the Ricoh Area was won 10-7 on Saturday by an imperious Higgins, who catapulted Shaun Murphy, Judd Trump and Ding Junhui, three of the finest in the sport, on his way to lifting his second title in successive weekends.

Six days earlier, the man from Wishaw in Scotland carried off the China Championship with a 10-7 victory over Stuart Bingham where he made three successive centuries in the final three frames.

The reward for back-to-back successes in such a cut-throat environment, snags Higgins £300,000. He shows no signs of going under before the next stop on the tour takes him to the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast today for this week’s Northern Ireland Open.

When O’Sullivan and Higgins decided to pursue snooker all those years ago, Bill Clinton was on the cusp of becoming president of the USA, Prince Charles and Di were about to split, Czechoslovakia was still a country and Windsor Castle went up in flames in a year the Queen described as an “annus horribilis”.

There are not many figures in professional sport who continue to burn brightly at a point in their sporting lives when they are supposed to be on the wane.

O’Sullivan and Higgins first met in a final at the 1995 Masters at Wembely which O’Sullivan won 9-3. Little did they know back then that they would be as sharp as ever 21 years on.

Little did they know in 2012, they would be back at this level. Higgins has admitted himself that he entered the doldrums when his confidence deserted him a year after he lost his dad John Senior to cancer.

O’Sullivan somehow managed to go three years without winning a ranking event after the Shanghai Masters in 2009, but lifting the German Masters in 2012 provided him with the impetus to win two more world titles, two Masters, the UK Championship and two Champion of Champions.

In Saturday’s final, Higgins made breaks of 75, 74, 79, 65, 60, 63 and 83 before pushing over the line with closing runs of 76, 86 and 58.

O’Sullivan, the greatest player snooker has produced, continues to flower on such occasions with a technique as formidable as granite. He lost despite knocking in 68, 88, 90, 61, 74 and 130. It is the second final he has appeared In successive months having lost 9-8 to Trump in the European Masters final in Romania.

It is only a matter of when his next title comes along after he demolished Mark Allen in the last four with a 6-2 win that included three sparkling 100 plus knocks.

The levels they reached at the Ricoh Arena were as immaculate as they have ever struck the ball so well with fast break-building, long potting and intricate tactical play the bedrock of a truly absorbing public tete-a-tete.

You can get 20/1 on Higgins winning a fifth world title next May while O’Sullivan is favourite at 9/2.

There are no other players in any professional sport playing as well over such a quarter of a century. The lesson to be learned is valuable: if you are old enough, you are good enough.

When O’Sullivan and Higgins are on it, they simply remain a breed apart. They remain unique sportsmen who are measured in decades rather than years.

Desmond Kane

Ronnie tipped the Northern Irish to star in their home tournament according to The Belfast Telegraph

Ronnie O’Sullivan has lift-off and tips Mark Allen to thrill Belfast

By Adam McKendry

Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has said home favourite Mark Allen would be a “worthy winner” of the Northern Ireland Open, should he himself not go on to win it.

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‘The Rocket’ eased through his opening match against Welshman David John, 4-1, at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast last night, setting up a clash with the legendary Jimmy White.

But, speaking after his win, O’Sullivan earmarked Allen – who plays tonight – as well as fellow Ulsterman Joe Swail, as a potential winner this week.

“I think they’ll be inspired by the crowd,” the former world number one said.

“I think Mark Allen is a really, really good player and I think he’s playing very well at the moment so he’s going to have a lot of belief.

“If I didn’t go on to win the tournament I think he would be a worthy winner, and I think it would be great if a home player, someone like him, could win.

“Joe Swail is a fantastic talent and is a dangerous opponent for anyone, and if he gets on a run he’s capable of beating anybody.

“But I’d love to win here in Belfast. I’ve won here before in the Waterfront so it’d be nice to win it again, but the main thing is to enjoy it.

“Keep competing and enjoy playing.”

O’Sullivan, playing competitively in Belfast for the first time since his 2008 victory at the Northern Ireland Trophy, also commented on how impressed he was by the crowd at the £366,000 event.

“I love this city, I think it’s great that there’s a tournament here now and it’s really good to be here and playing,” he enthused.

“They’re a great crowd, they know their snooker here. It’s always good to come to places where they have a real good idea of what good snooker is.

“They appreciate it, so it’s good to play in front of fans like that.”

O’Sullivan put on a masterclass as he rattled off the first two frames with breaks of 131 and 86, before following it up by taking the third frame in fine style as well.

John fought back to take frame four, but O’Sullivan showed his class with the biggest break of the match, 133, to seal victory in the fifth frame.

The World No.8 admitted that he was pleased with how he performed, and that he felt like he was coming back into form after some indifferent recent performances.

“I was happy with that, that was one of my better performances of the season,” the 40-year-old said. “I’m pleased with that, yeah.

“I’ve got a great belief in myself and my game, I just have to find some form.

“Once the form comes then I have the chance of competing in most events I play in.”

O’Sullivan who will now take on veteran of the game Whirlwwind White in round two, after the 54-year old made it past another Welshman, Gareth Allen, winning 4-2.

“Every match is hard now. It doesn’t matter who you play, you have to play well to win,” O’Sullivan said, looking ahead to the rest of the tournament.

Elsewhere, Antrim amateur Jordan Brown is into the second round after he overcame England’s Ben Woollaston 4-2 last night.

Brown picked up the only century of the match in the second frame as he raced into a 2-0 lead, before Woollaston took the next two to level proceedings.

But Brown struck back to win the final two frames to secure his place in tomorrow’s second round.

World No.5 Shaun Murphy was the shock casualty on day one after he was whitewashed 4-0 by 21-year-old Luca Brecel.

Four-time world champion John Higgins beat Paul Davison 4-0 to extend the Scot’s winning run to nine matches.

Belfast Telegraph

And finally, in this interview with the BBC, and reported by The42 he jokingly compared himself to J.K. Rowling whilst promoting his new book

FIVE-TIME WORLD snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has joked he could be the “new JK Rowling” after turning his hand to novel writing.

O’Sullivan has penned the fittingly titled crime story Framed, which takes inspiration from his own life story.

The ‘Rocket’ has previously released two autobiographies and seems to have caught the writing bug.

Put to him by BBC Radio Five Live that he could have a great literary career ahead of him, O’Sullivan boldly compared himself to the author of the Harry Potter series, replying: “That’d be great, wouldn’t it? [The] new JK Rowling!”

“Obviously I’d done a couple of autobiographies and there are certain things that you do that you enjoy, and I really enjoyed being involved in the whole process of doing my autobiographies.

I think they [the publishers] sensed that and they approached me and said would you be interested in doing a novel?”

Despite his success, O’Sullivan has long had a love-hate relationship with snooker and says his new-found love of writing will help him cope when he eventually walks away from the game for good.

I’ve started to look for things that I enjoy and I’ve found two or three things now that I really enjoy,” he said. ”I know now that if I never played snooker I’d be fine.

“I’m now playing snooker because I want to, not because I have to.

Everybody needs a purpose in their life and snooker has been that purpose, but at some point I’d like to find another purpose.”

He did not rule out a sixth World Championship triumph, adding: “Anything is possible with me. I’ve stopped trying to predict what I’m capable of or not capable of.”

 

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