Ronnie starts playing at the Crucible today

Ronnie will start his 2020 Word Championship campaign today.

Yesterday, Hector Nunns posted this on twitter:

RonnieCovidTest

A couple of days ago he was interviewed by Phil Haigh again. It’s a very honest and open interview, and one that is heartbreaking by mainy aspects. Ronnie might be ruthless at the table, but in real life, he’s a very sensitive, emotional person. Obviously, that doesn’t make his “job” easier.

Here are some excerpts:

‘I’d never say it’s too easy because I’d never disrespect the game and we all have our own pride in performance and our own doubts,’ continued the Rocket.

‘Don’t get me wrong, self-doubt has crippled me all my life so I’d never take for granted the game or whoever I’m playing, because sometimes I don’t know who they are and you get pleasantly surprised.

‘They end up coming out, playing brilliantly and you think, “Who is this geezer?” Then six months into the season you find out that guy hasn’t won a frame or a match.

‘They all come in excited that they’re on the tour, but after six or nine months of getting bashed up by [John] Higgins, [Mark] Selby and [Judd] Trump, slowly they crawl back into their shell and it’s not a good place to be. It’s like, “Welcome to the big boys,” you know.

‘I’ve played them before, they’re looking at me and they look like they want to cry. I’m looking at them and thinking, “Mate, you’ve got to play me now and you look like you want to be anywhere but here.” ‘Then you bash them up 4-0, they trundle off, you look at him and think, “Is that really nice?”’

‘Yeah, ever since I was a kid I always thought everyone was better than me,’ said Ronnie.

‘My dad used to say, “Are you mad?” But I thought, nah, he cues better than me, he’s better at this or that.

‘I’ve always kind of had it, but a lot of my success has been driven from fear. Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of having to work harder to be as good as the next guy. In a way it’s driven me on but I’ve realised it’s not healthy.

‘Since working with Steve Peters I’ve learned how to turn that around and have a life, but still compete on the table and not be driven by fear.

‘I play now because I want to play and not because I have anything to prove. I realise it’s a tough sport, a tough game and it’s a roll of the dice a lot of the time. As long as I keep rolling a few sixes, it’s all good.’

‘I quite enjoy having no crowd, because you don’t have to perform for anybody,’ Ronnie explained. ‘As a sportsman, especially one who people expect to make 147s, people think your cue’s a wand and you can just turn it on like a tap, there’s a lot of pressure involved for you to deliver.

‘If I don’t deliver, you can feel the disappointment in the air. Without a crowd it takes away that, if I play well, great, if I don’t at least no one’s wasted their ticket money, they’ve just paid their licence fee, and there’s plenty of other things to watch on the BBC.’

‘The last 20 years my mental health has been based around fitness and running, that’s been quite well documented, how running has helped me cope with the stresses of sport and life,’ he said.

‘I’m not saying I’m a special case, I think a lot of people have ways to cope with the stresses of life and found that running, especially with what has been going on, they’ve become more active and it’s improved their life.

‘As far as on the snooker table, that’s out of your hands, you’ve got an opponent that’s equally as ferocious as you. If it’s not your day then there’s not a lot I can do about that sometimes. But with the running and the eating, the last 20 years, that’s been the cornerstone of my longevity

‘I don’t necessarily think it’s made me a better player or enhanced me. I just look at myself now at 44 and think I’m glad I kept myself in good shape because I feel alright, I feel I’ve got another five, six, seven, 10 years or however long I want.

‘But I’ve never just trained for snooker, I’ve trained for mental health, physical health, just the benefits from running. Running is the hard bit, you never feel like going for a run but 10 minutes in you feel fantastic, and for the rest of the day. I’ve tried a lot of drugs, but no drug comes close to that.

‘A gym doesn’t do it for me, I like to be out in nature. For me a gym is like a concrete jungle, yeah there is a place for it, but just as a strengthening exercise, but not for my endorphins.

‘Running through the forest, I had four or five deer run out in front of me the other day and I was like “Wow!” It’s all about the outdoors, I think I should have been born as Alan Titchmarsh.’

Ronnie faces Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who is the highest ranked qualifier in the draw. Last year, Thepchaiya nearly knocked Judd Trump out in the first round and he would probably have done if it wasn’t for a serious slice of bad luck in the decider. Theppy has won two matches last week, he will be sharp. Ronnie comes into this “match cold”. It will be a difficult match for him, and he could well lose it, even trying his hardest. However, playing someone like Theppy, who is fast and plays an open game, should help him. The absence of crowd, as well as a reduced media presence, also eases the pressure a bit, and Ronnie seems to be in a positive state of mind. It should be a good match.

Good luck Ronnie!

 

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