There have been a lot of reports in the press about Barry Hearn urging Ronnie to “grow up” and stop his protest regarding his press conferences. They are all pretty similar and here is a link to one of them:
The five-time world champion has staged a two-month protest against what he feels is unfair treatment by the sport’s authorities.
It has seen him deliberately and repeatedly give one-word answers to questions he has faced after matches, while in an ITV interview at the World Grand Prix in February he was marginally more expansive but gave a series of responses in a robotic voice.
At the Welsh Open in March, the 41-year-old began to sing the Oasis hit Wonderwall when taking questions from a BBC radio reporter.
O’Sullivan has been working for Eurosport this season and explained his stance in a blog for the broadcaster. The 41-year-old was aggrieved at receiving a disciplinary letter following his criticism of referee Terry Camilleri at the Masters in January, and for swearing at a cameraman he felt had not observed the correct etiquette.
But Hearn is mindful of the situation persisting into the Betfred World Championship, which begins on Saturday and is the sport’s biggest showcase.
Hearn told Press Association Sport: “I’m going to be having a word. Ronnie’s monosyllabic remarks are not a breach of the rules but certainly they are a breach of the spirit of how those rules are interpreted.
“And I would hope that common sense comes back, because what started off as being quite amusing has now become in my view embarrassing for everyone, including Ronnie.
“I’m a fan of the relationship between the players and the press. It’s time for Ronnie to grow up a little bit now.”
O’Sullivan won his fifth world title in 2013, since when he has been runner-up to Mark Selby in 2014, a beaten quarter-finalist in 2015 and a second-round loser last year.
He and all the world’s top 16 players are due to appear at an eve-of-tournament press conference in Sheffield on Friday.
What those articles are telling me though is that Hearn is actually pretty desperate for Ronnie’s collaboration because he knows only too well that he remains the main one the press wants quotes from. One reason for this is precisely that, over the years, Ronnie has not just given the media a lot of time, as Hector Nunns highlights here, but he has also spoken from the heart and given answers an views that were different from the standard, pretty predictable, stuff they are served most of the time. When you do that, and allow yourself to be genuine, you will slip up sometimes and say something that is maybe not so appropriate, like, for instance, criticising the referee publicly right after the match instead of discussing the matter privately with him – which Ronnie offered to do BTW, but only after speaking out on ES – but you will also deliver great value more often that not. Ronniehas done that and he isn’t happy about the way the authorities have tried to discipline him over some of his recent quotes; if his twitter is anything to go by, he does not intend to change his stance.
And if you need any evidence how keen/desperate the media are to publish anything about Ronnie because it sells, just have a look at this in the mirror. The editors want things that sell, and Ronnie sells.
That does not mean that he’s not talking to the media, as these two interviews prove
Chigwell based Ronnie O’Sullivan is hoping to win World Championship title
Ronnie O’Sullivan: I don’t feel trapped by snooker anymore
The Rocket talks to Standard Sport about his new take on life
Ronnie O’Sullivan has an unlikely inspiration in his quest to be world champion for a sixth time… Jeremy Vine.
The Rocket has not won the title since 2012 — just after turning to the sports psychiatrist Professor Steve Peters, to whom he credited that triumph.
But should he prove victorious at the championship, which starts at the Crucible on Saturday, he will have the Radio 2 DJ to thank.
“I didn’t think I could play snooker for another 10 years and that’s simply because of the practice,” says O’Sullivan. “I’d been going down the same academy for five years and there’s just no atmosphere as it’s so quiet. But now I’ve got myself a radio in and I’m loving it.
“It’s Radio 2 and the best is Jeremy Vine. There’s music and a bit of chit chat. Now I find I’m having to pull myself away from the table.”
O’Sullivan is playing and talking with new-found freedom. In the build-up to his 25th consecutive World Championship appearance, another source of inspiration has been Roger Federer.
Aged 35, Federer has been resurgent this season and O’Sullivan, who won the Masters in January just after his 41st birthday, draws parallels.
“There were three or four years when Federer didn’t win anything,” says O’Sullivan. “He’s accepted he probably won’t be No1 as he’s not playing enough tournaments but wants to be around a lot longer and has to have that approach to do that for his health. Federer’s quite similar to me also in that I need to have fire in my belly. I can’t perform unless I’m fired up.”
During the interview, O’Sullivan also references Mel Gibson in Braveheart as he explains taking control of his life both in and out of snooker.
“It’s about getting to a point where you let go of everything,” he says. “Don’t let material things take hold of you anymore. As long as I’m running, boxing and playing snooker, I’m fine.
“Sometimes you listen to stuff on the radio and think ‘what kind of world do we live in?’ It’s kind of like at the end of Braveheart…freedom!
“If you can’t live in freedom, what’s the point? I just want to live my life, I don’t harm anyone. I’m not even scared of dying anymore. I’ll die one day, I just want to live like a free person until that point rather than feel guarded the whole time.”
His new-found freedom has partly put him at loggerheads with snooker’s rule makers.
After a threat of disciplinary action, which was then withdrawn, he took the bizarre approach of doing one interview in a robot voice, in another he broke into a cover of Oasis’ Wonderwall.
“No one wins but it makes people go ‘why is he doing that?’ and the reason I’m doing that is to not get fined,” he says. “But it makes me smile too and I won’t be scared to do more things like that.”
In conversation, the Federer-esque fire appears to be simmering at just the right time.
Part of that fire is down to being less obsessive about the sport. From a young age, he lived and breathed snooker but that has changed, for which he credits his girlfriend of five years, the actress Laila Rouass, and pursuing other interests away from the baize.
There is O’Sullivan the studio analyst with Eurosport, O’Sullivan the author — his first crime novel Framed set to be followed by a second — and O’Sullivan the television presenter following his series American Hustle. He admits: “In some ways, I don’t care as much anymore. Before, I had all my eggs in one basket. I don’t feel trapped by snooker anymore. Before, all I did was that.
“The most important thing is that I enjoy life off the table, and sometimes that can be hard. But I’ve taken control and doing more work with Eurosport makes me realise I love snooker, watching it and talking about it.”
But for all the insistence that he now cares less, he admits to being driven to beat the Major wins of Stephen Hendry, who boasts 18 Masters and World Championship titles. O’Sullivan is one adrift but victory alone is not enough for snooker’s showman.
“I want to win but win with style,” he says. “You want that feeling when you’re so dominant no one on the planet can break you. When you’re in the zone, there’s no better feeling in the world.
“I’ve always had self-doubt but I remember at the Worlds in 2012 I’d just started working with Steve Peters and said ‘I’m done, I can’t get past the last 16’. He told me to be patient and I won the whole thing and I was like ‘where did that come from?’ I feel good and I like to think that this 41-year-old can still surprise a few people.”
Despite a couple of inaccuracies – for instance Ronnie’s 2012 World title wasn’t his last to date – it’s a good interview