Ronnie is looking forward to the Masters

The Masters 2017 starts on Sunday early afternoon, and Ronnie, the defending champion, is looking forward to the first event of the year. Here he is speaking to Worldsnooker and to Eurosport.

Ronnie speaks to Worldsnooker:

Thursday 12 Jan 2017 01:15PM

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O’Sullivan thrashed Barry Hawkins 10-1 in the final last year

Ronnie O’Sullivan believes his form has sharpened over recent months as he looks ahead to snooker’s Dafabet Masters, which starts on Sunday.

Last year, O’Sullivan won snooker’s biggest invitation event for the sixth time to equal Stephen Hendry’s record, and he is now aiming for a seventh crown.

The tournament at Alexandra Palace in London runs from January 15 to 22 with the world’s top 16 players contesting the trophy and a top prize of £200,000.

Masters match schedule

O’Sullivan made a slow start to the current season but feels he has since got close to his best form, particularly at the UK Championship where he reached the final before losing a classic match 10-7 against Mark Selby.

“My game is a lot better now than it was in September and October,” said the Rocket. “That was one of the toughest periods I’ve had in snooker. I didn’t really practise going into the start of the season and I paid the price for that.

“I had to be patient and wait for my game to come, and it has improved over the last few tournaments. At the UK Championship I thought I played very well, I just came up short in the final.”

Chigwell’s 41-year-old O’Sullivan will face China’s Liang Wenbo in his opening match on Sunday at 1pm in front of a capacity crowd of 2,000, the session having sold out several weeks ago. He has traditionally received enthusiastic support from the London fans but O’Sullivan does not feel that gives him an advantage.

“It can go both ways,” he added. “If it’s not going for me then it can put more pressure on me to make something happen. If things are going my way then I can feed off the crowd’s momentum. I have won a lot of tournaments away from London so it’s not that big a factor – what’s more important is whether my game is strong enough for the week.”

Tickets and fantastic VIP packages are still available for certain sessions including the quarter-finals on Thursday January 19 and Friday January 20. But fans MUST ACT FAST TO BOOK SEATS.

A NEW RECORD has already been set for the most tickets sold prior to the Masters starting and this could lead to another record, by the end of the event, for the most tickets sold in the tournament’s history.

For the latest availability call 0871 620 7052 or CLICK HERE

And you can listen to the interview here:

… yes he has a cold.

And he also to Eurosport about his hopes and his approach to the new year:

Ronnie O’Sullivan:

‘What boosted my frame of mind ahead of Masters defence’

Ronnie O’Sullivan begins his bid for a record seventh Masters title against Liang Wenbo on Sunday at London’s Alexandra Palace. Here the defending champion explains to Desmond Kane why time spent away from home since September has been kind to him ahead of his bid to move ahead of Stephen Hendry as the most prolific winner of snooker’s biggest invitational event.

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‘MASTERS IN LONDON A VERY SPECIAL TOURNAMENT’

I’m looking forward to the Masters in London as I always do. It will be tough, but that’s what makes it so special.

I’ve lowered my expectations since not focusing totally on snooker.

I now look to enjoy the events and if I win, great. If not it’s back to the pundit box, or doing some work on my new novels.

As Steve Davis has said, ‘don’t use that as an excuse if you don’t win’. That was a good bit of advice.

I don’t see myself as the favourite going there as there are top players doing better than me, and winning the big events.

Having said that, if my game comes together and I get a bit of luck, you never know.

‘GAME BACK TO WHERE IT SHOULD BE’

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It was a good week for me at the UK Championship in York last month where I played some decent stuff in losing to Mark Selby in the final.

I’d say from the Northern Irish Open in Belfast in November onwards, my game has been back to where it should be.

I’ve still a few things to get right, but it’s not all bad. And it wasn’t just all good because of the snooker.

The main aim for me while I’ve been on the road, is it to find a way to make it fun and interesting. I’ve managed that. In some ways, it’s felt like an all-expenses paid holiday.

I met some great running friends in Belfast, and got some great runs in. That’s always a good thing for me to get done in my day.

It was the same in York when I met up with some nice people, talked a lot about running and enjoyed some amazing food.

The only drawback from York was that I missed Jimmy White and Neal Foulds in the studio, but I did get to spend time with the Eurosport guys in York, and we had a laugh.

Some of my friends from China came to York which was fantastic, too. They are the best.

‘I DON’T FEEL TRAPPED’

The weird thing is, I’ve only been home seven nights since September 8.

That’s seven nights in four months, and the only reason I’ve been able to hack it is because I’ve had other things to take my mind off the snooker.

The new book, my Eurosport ambassador work, the exhibitions and the snooker tournaments have been an add on.

I don’t feel trapped which is fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still highly competitive. But I believe I’m better when I have other things to take my mind off the pressure of having to perform to win events.

This way, I get to enjoy my time and what I do regardless of the results. It is a win-win situation I just hope we get to play in some more wonderful cities.

I’ve become more businesslike in my approach to what I do. And i suppose that is something that comes with age. I know my perspective has changed a lot from my early days, and I feel much better for it.

I’m really looking to the New Year, here’s hoping it is a good one for the sport and fans.