2021 Crucible – Ronnie beats Mark Joyce by 10-4 in the last 32 round.

Ronnie beat Mark Joyce by 10-4 yesterday to get his title defence underway, 

The score looks comfortable, but it wasn’t a comfortable match: Ronnie struggled badly for the best part of it, only finding some fluency in the last 3 or 4 frames.

Here are the scores:

Crucible2021L32ROSJoyce-Scores

That looks like good scoring, and it was in the end, but actually the first 10 frames were error-strewn.

Here are the reports by WST:

Morning session

Defending Champion O’Sullivan Leads Joyce

Crucible2021L32ROSJoyce-4Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan established a 6-3 advantage over Crucible debutant Mark Joyce after the first session of their opening round clash at the Betfred World Championship.

O’Sullivan lifted his sixth world title last year after a crushing 18-8 defeat of Kyren Wilson in the final. That left the 45-year-old just one behind Stephen Hendry’s record of seven Crucible crowns, which he is aiming to equal this year.

Joyce came through qualifying earlier in the week to secure a first trip to the Theatre of Dreams in 15 years as a professional. Joyce defeated Brazillian Igor Figueiredo 10-7 on Judgement Day to progress into the main draw.

Neither player managed to produce their fluent best this morning, but it was the Rocket who was most efficient with his time at the table. O’Sullivan spent just 73 minutes at the table to Joyce’s 87, but he managed to convert that into a three-frame advantage.

The first frame saw O’Sullivan express doubts about the cue ball, which was changed after just three shots. A new white was provided and both players went on to spurn opportunities in a scrappy opener, before O’Sullivan eventually pinched it on the colours to move 1-0 ahead.

Joyce fired in a welcome run of 58 to get his first frame on the board and restore parity at 1-1. From there O’Sullivan started to take control of proceedings, breaks of 63 and 58 helped him take two on the bounce and go into the mid-session 3-1 up.

They traded frames when play resumed, with O’Sullivan re-establishing his two-frame cushion thanks to a run of 70, which put him 4-2 ahead.

Joyce pulled back within one, before a dramatic eighth frame. It came down the final blue, which O’Sullivan eventually cross-doubled to the yellow pocket and cleared to steal on the black and lead 5-3. A run of 69 then saw him hammer home his advantage and head into the second session 6-3 ahead. They will return at 7pm to play the best of 19 encounter to a conclusio

Evening session

O’Sullivan: Fans Spur Me On

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s bid to win a record-equalling seventh Betfred World Championship crown started strongly as he hammered Mark Joyce 10-4 to reach the last 16 at the Crucible.

The opening day in Sheffield marked the return of fans to sport in the UK. O’Sullivan struggled with his game in the first ten frames against Joyce but then, thriving on the Crucible’s unique atmosphere, stepped up a gear and finished with three consecutive centuries.

Crucible2021L32ROSJoyce-4If O’Sullivan wins his next match he will set a new record of 20 Crucible quarter-final appearances

“It was a great to have a crowd,” he said. “It’s fantastic for the fans to be back watching snooker, I could feel them there. Having a crowd makes me want to find something, it’s my natural instinct. It spurs me on to play better.”

With a comfortable victory over Crucible debutant Joyce, O’Sullivan set up second round match with  Anthony McGill or Ricky Walden. Having lifted the trophy in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2020, O’Sullivan needs one more title to match Stephen Hendry’s record of seven.

This season has been a mixed one for 45-year-old O’Sullivan – he has plenty of match practice under his belt having reached five ranking event finals, but has the unwanted record of losing all five. Despite not winning a title since conquering the Crucible last August, the Essex cueman is rated among the favourites for the £500,000 top prize, alongside Judd Trump and Neil Robertson.

O’Sullivan struggled for fluency in the the first session today, and Joyce looked in with a chance when he won the first frame of the evening to trail 6-4. But Walsall’s Joyce scored just eight points in the last four frames as O’Sullivan hit top gear with breaks of 58, 124, 137 and 112.

Crucible2021L32ROSJoyce-6“There’s nothing good to say about the first ten frames,” said O’Sullivan, who is playing at the Crucible for a remarkable 29th consecutive occasion having made his debut in 1993. “I played well towards the end, hopefully I can use my experience and build on that. It’s a long tournament so things can turn around but I will need to play like that for 60 or 70 per cent of the time to have a chance. There are times out there when I wonder why I’m playing, then I look at the bigger picture. Snooker has been good to me and I enjoy it.”

Joyce said: “I have mixed emotions, I enjoyed the match but I’m disappointed with the way I played. Ronnie looked as nervy as me early in the match and at that point I felt he was there for the taking. My safety and long potting were good but I missed too many easy balls and he mopped up. Then tonight he played with a lot more freedom. Having played here once it has made me more determined to get back again. Next time I will be more relaxed.”

Ronnie may be happy with the return of the crowd but he wasn’t impressed by the behaviour of  some fans:

Ronnie O’Sullivan through but rattled by encounter with ‘boozed-up’ fan

Ronnie O’Sullivan gave the returning Crucible fans a treat by firing three consecutive centuries to wrap up a first round win over Mark Joyce – but fears their overenthusiasm could wreck his bid for a seventh world crown.

O’Sullivan revealed he was accosted on Saturday in a “nightmare” incident at a Sheffield city centre restaurant, and will now cut back his appearances in public in order to minimise the risk of being forced to withdraw due to a positive test later in the tournament.

O’Sullivan, who said that two members of the restaurant’s staff had been forced to intervene, added: “Ninety-nine per cent of the people are fine but it’s just the odd one who was a bit boozed up and having a mental one. It was so busy and this geezer was a nightmare. He was pissed up and coming at me and I was like, ‘mate, please.’ What can you do? I’ve got to stay indoors and stay away.

“If I didn’t have to be clean for this tournament it wouldn’t matter, but if I reached the quarter-finals it would be a sickener to have to pull out. As a sportsman I can’t work if I get ill so that’s my only problem.”

Nevertheless O’Sullivan welcomed the return of fans to the famous venue, which was filled to 33% capacity as part of a pilot scheme surrounding the return of fans to sporting events, after turning on the style to claim a 10-4 win.

Despite establishing a 6-3 lead O’Sullivan struggled in an error-strewn opening session, but ended it by becoming only the eighth player to make three consecutive Crucible centuries as breaks of 124, 137 and 112 finally saw him ease over the line.

O’Sullivan added: “It was great to have the crowd in there, they miss their snooker and I probably would have given up mentally in that match if there was no crowd there.

“I’d have thought, I’ll get out of here and go home and do a bit of punditry, but because the crowd are here you feel you’ve got to perform because they’ve paid their money and come out to watch. When I think back to my great matches and you see the crowd’s faces and the pleasure that you give them when you play an unbelievable performance, that sticks in your mind that that’s what I’m here to do.”

World Snooker Tour confirmed it had issued written advice to players before the tournament to “be careful” when they are in public areas.

With sanitiser stations provided around the venue, fans had their tickets scanned before sitting in designated seats, socially distanced.

Ventilation has often been an issue in the Crucible and the venue can feel quite hot and stuffy at times, but yesterday, with a limited crowd, it was actually chilly. Ronnie was visibly uncomfortably cold during the match.

There was an unusual incident at the start, as the cue ball needed to be replaced after only three shots. Mark Joyce broke off first and looked puzzled, then Ronnie spotted something on the ball. It was not obvious what it was on the TV image, but Paul Collier asked for it to be replaced.

Crucible2021L32ROSJoyce-1

Here are two interviews with Ronnie by the sponsor, the first before the match, the second after it.

The first round is always a banana skin for the seeds at the Crucible: they come out “cold” against qualifiers who have played a minimum of two matches in the previous week and secured £20000 in money and ranking points. If the seeds lose they get their money, but not the ranking points. And, of course, there is additional pressure and expectations on the shoulders of defending champion who plays to a finish on the opening day.

Hopefully, Ronnie can relax a bit now and play better in the next round.

 

Ronnie’s interview with the sponsor

The arena must be nearly ready by now

And the defending champion was interviewed by the sponsor

Ronnie O’Sullivan Claims He Could Have Won Ten World Titles Ahead Of Championship

The 45-year-old spoke candidly to Betfred ahead of the tournament

Six-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he could have won 10 titles and revealed he has a somewhat ‘love/hate’ relationship with snooker.
Speaking candidly to Betfred Sport ahead of this week’s World Snooker Championship where he will be competing to defend his crown, the 45-year-old claimed he ‘wasted’ a decade of career and should have claimed more success.

“My game’s never great to be honest with you,” he told Betfred in the build-up. “I’m never satisfied but I suppose that’s just the nature of the beast sometimes, you’re always looking to squeeze a bit more out but in general it’s been an ok season. I’ve enjoyed it and done it on my terms so it’s felt good.

“When I look back, I think I could have probably won ten (titles) if I had found a little bit of consistency or hadn’t wasted seven, eight, nine, ten years of my career but nothing is ever plain sailing. Sometimes I was happy to get one at one point so to get six, I’m pretty comfortable with that achievement.
“I might not win it this year, could possibly win it the year after but as long as I’m enjoying playing you’ve always got a chance I suppose. It’s a tournament at the end of the day, you’ve just got to try and get it right over this little period.

Twenty years on from his first triumph in 2001, a victory at the Crucible this time around would see him match record winner Stephen Hendry with seven wins.

Asked if Hendry’s tally is something he is targeting, he insisted, “No, it’s not driven by that at all, really. I come here, it gets me out the house, I enjoy travelling, the lifestyle, playing. If I lose the first round and I’m playing well, I’ll be disappointed. If I lose the first round and I’m not playing so well, I’ll be thinking ‘sweet touch’ because it’s a long time to struggle at this tournament.

“If things go well, it’s fantastic. If they don’t, I’m not the kind of player to want to grind out any event. As the tournament progresses, I sort of get a feeling for what will happen and try and judge it as well as you can.”

Another victory would put The Rocket in the record books but ahead of the championship, he is clearly in relaxed mood and insists he is more concerned with playing well and enjoying the game as opposed to obsessing over titles.

“I’ve always said that as long as my lifestyle’s great I don’t mind doing anything – if someone said you’ve got to paint walls for a living, as long as the life’s good, I’ll do it but if the lifestyle’s not great, it doesn’t matter how much I love something, I’m not going to want to do it.”

Speaking of being a champion, he revealed he doesn’t get too excited by his success and admitted, “I wish it meant more to me in many ways. I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it and sometimes just playing is an achievement in itself.

“It’s not an easy sport, snooker, and sometimes you go through a lot of highs and a lot of lows and in the end you just go ‘I don’t want any more highs’ but then you can’t have the lows. You kind of neutral out and (you think) you know what, I’ll just stay in the middle which is a little bit easier to live with in many ways.

The action starts in bit more than four hours…

Stéphane Ochoiski présente Ronnie pour les lecteurs francophones

Stéphane Ochoiski est Français. Il est passionné de snooker. Il est joueur, coach, et le père de Brian Ochoiski qui s’est récemment illustré en tant que “top-up” dans le main tour. Stéphane a aussi travaillé avec Eurosport France en tant que consultant.

Voici la traduction du “profil” de Stephane par la WPBSA.

En tant que joueur, Stéphane Ochoiski a commencé à jouer au snooker en 1990 et il a remporté six championnats de France, a été numéro un français  à de nombreuses reprises et a remporté plus de 15 titres en compétitions nationales.

Il a également été un joueur international représentant la France à 39 reprises, et souvent en tant que capitaine de l’équipe. Il est le premier et le seul joueur français à avoir joué en direct sur Eurosport lors un événement pro en 2015 à Fuerth lors du Paul Hunter Classic. Son adversaire était Stephen Maguire.

Stéphane a ouvert sa propre académie de snooker en France en 1991. En 1995, il a ouvert la première école de snooker française et il a entraîné plus de 5000 personnes depuis. Il a joué un rôle important dans le développement du snooker en France.

Il a également été entraîneur national français pour les juniors et les hommes pendant de nombreuses années et beaucoup de champions de France ont été formés par Stéphane. Il est également devenu coach international et a entraîné des aspirants joueurs en Albanie, en Allemagne, en Suisse, au Maroc, en République tchèque et en Belgique.

Stéphane a maintenant plus de 30 ans d’expérience dans le snooker et collabore avec des entraîneurs tels que Chris Henry, Nic Barrow, Alan Trigg et bien d’autres.

Le snooker n’est pas très développé en France, ni en Belgique francophone. Attirer plus de fans, et de joueurs dans ces régions, est un projet qui tient beacoup à coeur à Stéphane, comme à moi-même.

A la veille du Championnat du Monde 2021, il a voulu partager cette présentation du tenant du titre avec les lecteurs francophones.

RONNIE O SULLIVAN LA LEGENDE VIVANTE DU SNOOKER’

Du 17 avril au 3 mai 2021, les meilleurs joueurs de snooker de la planète seront réunis au CRUCIBLE Theater de Sheffield pour le Championnat du monde de snooker professionnel.

CrucibleSetup2020

Qui succèdera à Ronnie O’Sullivan, sacré en 2020 vainqueur de Kyren Wilson en aout dernier ?

Ronnie O’Sullivan, lauréat de l’épreuve à six reprises, remet son titre en jeu. « The Rocket » voudra encore s’inscrire davantage dans la légende du snooker. Voici un portrait de ce champion hors norme.

Ses débuts : Un génie

Ronald Antonio « Ronnie » O’Sullivan est un joueur de snooker professionnel, il est né le 5 décembre 1975 à Wordsley. Son jeu rapide lui a valu le surnom de « The Rocket ». Ronnie a grandi et vit toujours à Chigwell, dans le comté d’Essex, au nord de Londres. Il a fait ses études au Wanstead High School à Londres.

Sa carrière commence très tôt : il n’a en effet que 10 ans lorsqu’il réussit son premier century, avec une série (break) de 117 points. Il réalise son premier 147, break maximum, à 15 ans.

YoungRonnie

Il devient professionnel en 1992 à 16 ans. Il gagne ses 38 premiers matchs en tant que professionnel, un record qui est toujours d’actualité. Il perd au premier tour contre Alan Mc Manus sur le score de 10 manches à 7, et finit sa première saison classé 57e.

En novembre 1993, à l’âge de 17 ans, il remporte le championnat du Royaume Uni, battant Stephen Hendry 10-6 en finale et devient le plus jeune vainqueur d’un tournois « ranking ». Ce record tient toujours aujourd’hui.

En novembre 1997, il remporte pour la deuxième fois le championnat du Royaume-Uni, battant à nouveau Stephen Hendry 10-6 en finale, inaugurant ainsi une des rivalités les plus en vue de ce sport.

O’Sullivan atteint les demi-finales du championnat du monde en 1999. Il perd cette demi-finale 17-14 contre Stephen Hendry, dans un match où les deux adversaires réalisent huit centuries – quatre chacun – et quatorze autres breaks supérieurs à cinquante points.

En 2001, O’Sullivan remporte son premier titre de champion du monde (qu’il dédie à son père), sur une victoire 18-14 contre John Higgins, et son 3e titre au championnat du Royaume-Uni, avec une victoire 10-1 contre Ken Doherty.

La saison 2002-2003 est également un succes, avec un Ronnie O’Sullivan gagnant le Masters d’Écosse, l’Open d’Europe, le Masters d’Irlande. En revanche, sa saison s’achève sur une note décevante quand il est éliminé du championnat du monde au premier tour, pour la 3e fois de sa carrière, perdant 10-6 contre Marco Fu, malgré un 147 pendant le match. Cette défaite le fait descendre à la 3e place dans le classement mondial.

En janvier 2004, Le père de Ronnie téléphone à Ray Reardon, sextuple champion du monde dans les années 1970, et lui demande s’il peut donner quelques conseils à son fils Ronnie. Avec le soutien de Reardon, Ronnie revient au sommet de sa forme, et remporte le championnat du monde 2004, dédiant à nouveau cette victoire à son père.

Ronnie-Ray-Reardon
O’Sullivan credits Reardon with teaching how to become a winner (Picture: Getty)

En route, il bat Stephen Hendry 17-4 en demi-finale, ce qui reste à ce jour la plus lourde défaite à ce stade d’un championnat du monde en demi-finale. Il bat ensuite Graeme Dott en finale, 18 manches à 8. Il se classe numéro un mondial pendant les deux saisons suivantes.

Son style :

Ronnie O’Sullivan se caractérise par un jeu très rapide, ce qui lui a valu le surnom de « The Rocket » (la fusée). Il est réputé pour sa vision du jeu et sa capacité à bâtir des breaks (break-building) avec facilité et précision.

Son « jeu long » (tirs à longue distance) est de très bonne qualité, il a aussi beaucoup progressé dans le jeu défensif ces dernières années, ce qui le rend encore plus redoutable.

Il est considéré comme un des meilleurs défenseurs du circuit, mais ce n’est pas « son » jeu et souvent il refuse de se laisser entrainer dans de longs échanges défensifs.

Il a aussi la particularité d’être ambidextre : il peut aussi bien jouer de la main droite que de la main gauche. Il ne se prive pas d’alterner au cours d’une même série (break).

Depuis que Ronnie a lancé ce style à lui CAD être capable de jouer vite et parfaitement des deux mains, beaucoup tentent de l’imiter…

Beaucoup de jeunes joueurs s’inspirent de lui, il a vraiment révolutionné la façon de jouer au snooker, Ronnie fait paraître ce jeu si compliqué, simple et beau à voir.

Son palmarès : Un résumé et beaucoup de records

Il a été champion du monde de snooker à six reprises (2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 et 2020). Il détient le record de victoires au Masters de snooker (sept titres) et au championnat du Royaume-Uni (sept titres). Il a ainsi remporté 20 titres sur des tournois de la triple couronne, un record.

Il détient aussi le record de victoires dans les tournois ranking (comptant pour le classement mondial), avec 37 victoires. O’Sullivan totalise plus de 12 millions de livres de gains financiers acquis en tournois.

Il est considéré par certains de ses pairs et par les fans de snooker comme le joueur le plus talentueux de l’histoire de ce sport. Il est le seul joueur de snooker ayant dépassé la barre des 1000 centuries (break supérieur à 100 points). Il est maintenant à 1100 centuries.

Ronnie 1000 centuries

Lors du championnat du monde 1997, il réalise le break maximal (147 points) le plus rapide : initialement mesuré à 5 minutes 20 secondes, son temps d’exécution a été revu récemment à 5 minutes 8 secondes. Il a d’ailleurs aussi le record du nombre de breaks de 147 points à son actif ; il en a réalisé quinze au total.

Aux championnats du monde, reportés au mois d’août 2020 suite à la crise sanitaire, Ronnie O’Sullivan s’impose en finale 18-8 contre Kyren Wilson. Ce dernier étant revenu à 8-10 au début de la troisième session n’a ensuite plus remporté une seule manche.

En demi-finale, il bat Mark Selby 17-16 après avoir été mené 14-16. Il totalise 12 centuries breaks au cours du tournoi.

Ronnie, bien que peu à l’aise avec sa technique en finale remporte ici son sixième titre de champion du monde, son 37e tournoi classé (record absolu) et, auréolé de ce nouveau trophée, est proclamé sans équivoque comme le meilleur joueur de tous les temps.

Il gagne également la somme de 500 000 livres, ce qui constitue son plus gros gain en carrière. Il finit la saison à la deuxième place du classement mondial.

Sa cote de popularité : Le joueur de billard le plus connu au monde

Il est probablement le plus grand joueur de snooker de tous les temps. Et aussi le plus controversé.

Il aime provoquer, souvent dans le but d’obtenir une réaction « positive » ou d’amuser.

“Je suis un génie” avait twitté Ronnie suite à sa victoire aux Championnats du monde de Snooker en 2013. “Je suis un docteur en Snooker et je suis un génie”.

Depuis Ronnie a plusieurs fois fait dans le grandiose, disant que le snooker manquait de piquant, souffrait d’une crise de personnalité et avait besoin de personnalité comme Tiger Woods l’a été en golf ou Cantona au football.

“Le snooker a besoin de stars comme moi”, avait dit Ronnie O’ Sullivan après avoir remporté son cinquième titre mondial. “Chaque sport a besoin d’une étoile, et lorsque celle-ci disparaît, le sport perd de son intérêt.

“Le snooker sans Ronnie, c’est comme une pizza sans sauce piquante” avait-il ajouté.

 

Certains joueurs essaient de m’imiter, mais ce n’est pas naturel. Je suis un peu limite par moments, mais c’est vraiment moi. Je suis comme ça et je fais ça de façon naturelle. “.

Il avait poursuivi en disant que “À certains égards, je pense que c’est ce que les gens veulent de moi : me voir jouer, quel que soit le résultat. Je suppose que pendant ces 10 dernières années, j’ai été le joueur préféré des supporters, ce qui ne rend pas les choses plus faciles, mais qui est très motivant.”.

Dernier exemple en date, sa petite pique à la nouvelle génération.

Suite à une victoire en conférence de presse, il ne s’est pas fait prier pour dézinguer les jeunes joueurs qu’il affronte sur le circuit.

« Si tu regardes les jeunes qui arrivent, ils ne sont pas vraiment bons, avait déclaré O’Sullivan au micro de la BBC. La plupart d’entre eux ont tout juste le niveau amateur, et encore. Ils sont tellement mauvais qu’on devrait me couper un bras et une jambe pour que je sorte du top 50. Voilà pourquoi les vieux sont encore là, parce que le niveau des jeunes est vraiment médiocre. »

Tous ces dires avaient alors attiré les commentaires dépités de la plupart des observateurs avertis. Suite à cela, dans une interview ultérieure Ronnie a expliqué que son but était de les stimuler et de les pousser à s’améliorer. Sept fois Champion du Monde, Stephen Hendry estime, à juste titre, que le snooker serait plus triste sans la présence de Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Ronnie serait apparemment atteint de désordre bipolaire mais une chose est sure sans lui le snooker ne serait pas, selon moi, devenu aussi populaire.

Sa saison 2020/21 : Cinq finales perdues

Ronnie perd d’entrée au Masters d’Europe contre le jeune et talentueux Aaron Hill, 18 ans (5-4).

ronnie-osullivan-and-aaron-hill
O’Sullivan suffered a shock defeat to 18-year-old Aaron Hill on Thursday

Début novembre, il est convié comme chaque année à participer au champion des champions, et s’incline en quart de finale contre Mark Allen.

Au tournoi suivant l’Open d’Irlande, il atteint la finale du tournoi pour la troisième année consécutive, dominant tour à tour Stevens, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Ding Junhui et Ali Carter. Comme les deux années précédentes, il est stoppé par Judd Trump, et qui plus est sur le même score de 9-7.

O’Sullivan aborde donc le premier tournoi de la triple couronne (championnat du Royaume-Uni) de la saison en confiance. Au premier tour, il retrouve Leo Fernandez, joueur qu’il n’a plus affronté depuis 21 ans. Ronnie s’impose en proposant une prestation convaincante (quatre demi-centuries et un century).

Au deuxième tour, il retrouve le jeune joueur suisse Alexander Ursenbacher. Comme au tournoi du pays de Galles de 2019, il se fait surprendre par le Suisse, qui le bat en manche décisive.

La semaine suivante, il atteint la finale de l’Open d’Écosse pour la première fois depuis vingt ans, après des victoires contre Tian Pengfei et Robbie Williams, malgré des problèmes de « tip » (embout d’une queue de billard), puis contre Li Hang en demi-finale. Il finit par s’incliner contre Mark Selby (9-3).

Son année 2020 prend fin au Grand Prix mondial, où il bat Ali Carter, Barry Hawkins et Kyren Wilson, avant de s’incliner contre Trump en demi-finale.

Début 2021, lors de son quart de finale aux Masters, Ronnie O’Sullivan affronte John Higgins pour la 65e fois de sa carrière. Les deux hommes ont réalisé cinq centuries consécutifs, égalant le record des Masters. John Higgins s’impose et atteint la finale.

À l’Open du pays de Galles, Ronnie O’Sullivan dispute sa 3e finale dans les tournois des Home Nations cette saison, qu’il perd face à Jordan Brown sur le score de 9 manches à 8. Il s’agit donc d’une 3e défaite en finale cette saison, après l’Open d’Irlande du Nord et l’Open d’Écosse.

WelshOpen2021BrownROSHandshake

La semaine suivante, Ronnie O’Sullivan dispute la finale du championnat des joueurs avec John Higgins. Les deux hommes ne se sont plus affrontés en finale d’un tournoi ranking depuis 2005.

Ronnie enregistre un quatrième échec cette saison en finale de tournois ranking, bien qu’il ait réalisé le meilleur break du tournoi avec une série de 144 points.

Fin mars au championnat du circuit, O’Sullivan subit une cinquième défaite de rang cette saison en finale contre un Neil Roberston impressionnant.

Ronnie O Sullivan va-t-il conserver son titre en 2021 ?

 

Réponse dès ce samedi 17 avril « The rocket » ouvrira le tournoi comme la coutume le veut samedi à 11h. Il sera opposé au premier tour à Mark Joyce un débutant au Crucible.

2021 Crucible Build-up – Hector Nunns about Ronnie and his status in the game

This was shared by WST this afternoon

Can The Rocket Reach Seventh Heaven?

A seventh world title for Ronnie O’Sullivan is likely to also see him hailed as the greatest ever.

By Hector Nunns

Is this the year to hail the undisputed greatest snooker player of all time? That is the question on the minds of many snooker fans ahead of this year’s Betfred World Championship, if not so much for defending champion and reluctant hero Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Ronnie aimingThe Rocket claimed a sixth world title at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in August beating Kyren Wilson in the final, leaving him just one short of Stephen Hendry’s record seven triumphs in the 17-day marathon of mind and body on snooker’s most iconic stage.

The current world number two, O’Sullivan has been at pains to stress that his form this season has been “mediocre”. There have been moments and flashes of brilliance, and those have helped take him to five ranking tournament finals.

Unusually for O’Sullivan, with a 70 per cent win rate in such showpieces at the beginning of the campaign, he has lost all of them. He even openly questioned whether his hunger and killer instinct were as keen given a more laid-back approach to life and the game these days.

And he has certainly been playing down any questions about equalling Hendry’s most cherished record, having already overtaken him on ranking titles (37), the major tournaments also including the Masters and UK Championship (20), 147 maximum breaks (15) and centuries (1,102).

O’Sullivan, who has had lots to say about many other issues in the build-up to this year’s World Championship, said: “I suppose winning a seventh world title is now a real possibility. But I will be happy if I don’t embarrass myself.

“I would never want to go to the Crucible and have an absolute stinker. That is my starting point. And then if I can win a couple of matches, then great. You just don’t want to make a fool of yourself.

Crucible 2020 Final HandshakeFormer world champion Ken Doherty is clear on the issue. He said: “It would befit Ronnie’s career if he did win a seventh to equal Stephen Hendry. Whenever the question is posed out there ‘who is the greatest?’, many would already say it is Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“But that world title tally is always there, Stephen has the most. Ronnie knows that, it is always raised. It would be the cherry on the cake of his other achievements, and then for me he would be the undisputed best of all time.”

Legend Hendry, now 52 and having made a comeback this season after nine years in retirement, was brutally honest about the prospect of seeing his record matched. He said: “I am not going to lie, I would be disappointed if Ronnie equalled that record.

“So I’m not going sit there and think ‘Oh no, it doesn’t matter’, because it does matter – it is a record I hold very proudly. If he equals it, fair play to him, and you could only say that’s an incredible achievement. He is a phenomenal snooker player, and sportsman. Is there anyone else as talented at their sport? But I’m certainly not going to lie and say that I would be over the moon about it!”

O’Sullivan has spoken this week about time spent relaxing with his artist friend Damien Hirst, revealing: “We get together, mix a few paints up, get the old stirring pot out, put it all on a canvas. I love painting with him, it’s very therapeutic.”

There has been a minor cue crisis in the build-up to the blue-riband event, though that looks to have been solved with emergency repairs by John Parris. And O’Sullivan will be replicating last year’s successful routine before and after matches while he remains in the draw – heading out to the west of Sheffield and running to the edge of the nearby Peak District.

O’Sullivan, back up to around 35-40 miles a week after recovering from injury, said: “There are some great routes and it’s nice to be doing some different ones. We go up to Endlcliffe Park, and keep going until we get to the Peaks and then come back again.”

ros-action-CrucbleIt looks an open tournament, and the betting reflects that. Sponsors Betfred have world number one Judd Trump as favourite at 7/2 for a second world title, and O’Sullivan at 5-1. However Neil Robertson (also 5-1), Mark Selby (13-2) and John Higgins (10-1) all have strong claims.

Some shrewdies believe Kyren Wilson will one day lift the trophy, and Yan Bingtao, who won the Masters in January, has one more chance to  take another of Hendry’s records by a single month – that of being the youngest ever world champion. Hendry was 21 when his era of dominance began in 1990.

But all eyes on opening day will be, as they usually are, on O’Sullivan – a spotlight he has had to cope with as the sport’s box office king for three decades. His half of the limited capacity arena is sold out, and they along with millions of TV viewers will be looking for the Rocket to run through a repertoire that has brought him success and adulation in equal measure.

Good luck Ronnie!

Peter Devlin responds to the trolls and it’s brilliant!

Recently, following a defeat, Peter Devlin was sent very aggressive, nasty messages and even death treaths on social media. It hurt … it hurt to lose and it hurt to be insulted and treathened as a result. His response is brilliant. 

He asked fans to share to raise awareness. Here goes and it’s my pleasure to help him and all sportspersons who are the victims of sore, pathetic disappointed gamblers.

I’m a mathematician but you don’t need to be one to understand this simple fact: if so many bookies stay in business and prosper, it’s because they WIN more money rhan they pay out, which in turn means that gamblers LOSE more than they win. It’s no rocket science. So, if you gamble, don’t complain about losing money, nobody forces you, and if you think that you are smart enough to “beat the system” you are deluded. Those guys have insider information and stats that you don’t have and never will have.

 

2021 Crucible – before it starts …

There were concerns about tomorrow second session scheduling at the Crucible because of the Duke of Edinburgh funerals will take place tomorrow afternoon.

WST has made the following announcement:

Minute’s Silence To Honour The Duke Of Edinburgh

Matches will be paused at the Betfred World Championship on Saturday for a minute’s silence to honour Prince Philip, who died last week at the age of 99.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral takes place on Saturday at Windsor Castle, with the service starting at 3.00pm.

At the same time, both matches will be paused on the opening day at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Players, referees and fans will observe the minute’s silence in the arena. The four players and two referees will wear black armbands.

A spokesman for WST said: “This will be the first time in the 94-year history of the Championship that we have paused matches in order to honour the Royal Family and a country that is in mourning. The session will start at 2.30pm as planned and then just before 3pm the matches will be paused. This event is broadcast to over 100 countries around the globe so people watching worldwide can pay their respects to Prince Philip at the same time.”

Then, of course, experts go for their previews …

David Hendon and Michael McMullan discuss theirs in the latest Snooker Scene podcast

It’s an interesting conversation as always and there are three points that particularly attracted my attention:

  • David Hendon is tipping Ronnie and Kyren Wilson to make the final again, with the same winner but a closer match. And IF Ronnie wins, he expects him to go for eight. Well, I wouldn’t complain if he was proved right. I just wish I was more confident.
  • The two discuss Judd Trumps’ ideas to “fix” snooker … and … their conclusion is that all his complaints about the pundits excessive focus on the past come down to himself wanting more attention. That made me smile!
  • The fact that David Gilbert, a semi-finalist two years ago, really needs to win. If he doesn’t he will be in a battle for his tour survival in the coming season. Just shows you how brutal the system is now.

Despite all the precautions taken by WST, Ronnie is still unneasy with having fans around

‘Rocket’ warns he will ‘kick off’ if fans invade his space at Crucible

Ronnie - Betway UK Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan has warned that he will “kick off” if fans invade his personal space during the World Snooker Championship, after fearing that his mother would die from Covid-19.

Crowds will be permitted inside Sheffield Crucible’s Theatre throughout the tournament, where O’Sullivan will start the defence of his title on Saturday, beginning with 33 per cent capacity for the first round and potentially rising to a full crowd for the final. O’Sullivan, who is 45, is hoping to get his vaccine in the coming weeks and, as easily the sport’s most popular and recognisable personality, has urged World Snooker to make sure that there is some level of security for players coming in and out of the venue.

I’m not fine with people coming close to me, I’m just really not, and I would kick off,” he told Sporting Life.

You get these crazy fans and people putting those autograph (books) in front of you, and coming up and wanting a selfie.

And if I don’t get a level of protection or feel safe in Sheffield, I’m not sure whether I would feel comfortable being there.

O’Sullivan is supportive of World Snooker being used to trial the indoor return of fans, who must have tested negative for
Covid-19 either on the day of the match or the day before.

He will, however, personally avoid busy restaurants and crowded indoor spaces for several years until much more is known about the disease, and particularly the impacts of long Covid.

O’Sullivan’s mother, Maria, required a ventilator and antibiotics after suffering from a Covid-19 infection.

There will be two tests for spectators at the World Snooker Championship, the first of which will take place at a UK government test centre local to their area. This test is free.

Fans must then take a test five days after they were at the tournament with a free home kit.

All spectators will also have to ‘check in’ at the venue using the NHS Track and Trace app.

O’Sullivan could equal Stephen Hendry’s modern day record of seven world titles should ‘The Rocket’ again triumph over the coming weeks. World No 1 Judd Trump, who will face a qualifier in the opening round, starts the tournament as favourite.

No player more than Ronnie gets this type of stalking by fans. People wanting to touch him, kiss him, shake his hand at the stage door or whenever he walks through the city, or sits in a restaurant. I have seen it close up on several occasions when we had lunch together: people shoving their cell phone right in his face whilst he was eating. people pushing their kids on his lap to take pictures, people sitting right next to him and wanting his attention for a conversation, despite him being there with friends … even worse, once, a guy had taken a picture when he was in the toilets and was then circulating the picture around in the crowd. That was at an exhibition, and years ago , but still!

Neil Robertson agrees with Ronnie, as he told the BBC

You don’t want to be mixing with people, even if they have the best intentions – if you were to pick it [Covid-19] up, you would be out of the event,” said Robertson.

I am going to have a policy this year where I am not stopping for socially-distanced selfies or signing anything. You just can’t afford to do that on the ridiculous chance of catching it. It would be pretty disastrous.

Of course the press spoke to other players too

Neil Robertson is confident 

The way I have been playing this season, I am not really too worried about who I am playing,” said Robertson.

If you ask Liang, he probably won’t be too happy about the draw, whereas I am not really too fussed on who I am playing, it is about how I approach the game.

“If I play well, I think I will win. It will be a tough game, but hopefully I will have too much (for him).

“This season I have always played matches on my terms, they have always been aggressive, open games which brings the best out of me.

“I have just got to concentrate on people being worried about what I can bring to the match, rather than stopping other people from playing. I have just got to go out to attack as well as I can.”

….

Judd Trump misses the people coughing and the mobile phones going off …

“You miss the coughing and the mobile phones going off,” Trump told BBC Radio 5 Live.

When you are losing and you get a frame or two behind [without fans], it is so much easier to give up because you feel nobody is there to see it.

When you’ve got a crowd you sometimes take a toilet break just to get the roar of the fans and get them calling your name to get you back in the game. So it makes a huge difference.

“I need the fans there just to bring out the best in me. Just adding more nerves and excitement helps my concentration.”

I feel my game is there for another win,” added the 2019 world champion. “It is such a long time, 17 days, that you can’t peak for every single game. You’ve got to be mentally prepared to go through hell to win the tournament.

“It’s been quite draining seeing the same surroundings over and over again. It feels like you are playing the same tournament over and over again. You’re in the same hotel rooms and are just on your own.

“It’s just going to be nice to take someone to the Crucible to have in your corner and help you through dark times in a game.

Shaun Murphy gave a rather emotional interview

Shaun Murphy interview: I hope the crowds bring back my spark, otherwise I’m in serious trouble

Matt Majendie

If Shaun Murphy won a tournament, the celebration would be food and drink. If he was commiserating a loss, it would be pizza.

When the World Snooker Championship begins at the Crucible on Saturday, he will weigh two stone lighter than he was on January 1. His battle with weight is not won, he says, but is now more under control.

I’m an emotional eater,” he said. “My relationship with food nosedived. Treats and food were a reward mechanism coaching me as a kid… a Mars Bar if you do this.

“This has manipulated to a monster of 30 years later where I can’t have a bar of chocolate, I have to have six. It’s been hard work addressing it, it’s doubly hard on tour. I’ve strayed a few times and paid the penalty.

Murphy has signed up to Overeaters Anonymous, Weightwatchers and Slimming World over the years but a charity head to head with snooker MC Phil Seymour, labelled Snooker’s Biggest Loser, has proved the catalyst in losing the pounds.

The aim was to see who could drop the most weight in 2021 leading up to the Worlds. Murphy lost, which he hopes is his only Crucible defeat of the next two-and-a-half weeks.

During the various lockdowns of the past year, Murphy’s game has struggled but he hopes snooker’s biggest tournament can act as a springboard for change with spectators allowed back in for one of the Government’s test events.

I need that extra buzz from the performing element to a live audience to bring out the best in me,” he said. “My wife says I’m the biggest show-off she’s ever met and snooker is merely my vehicle to let that out.

“I love that performing element. If I wasn’t a snooker player, I’d have been on the West End. Without the crowds, it’s just not worked. There’s matches I’ve lost this year I would have won with an audience.

“I’m excited at the prospect in playing in front of someone again. I hope it brings that spark. If not, I’m in serious trouble. And I’m not sure what else is wrong.”

Murphy’s preparations have been far better this year that the last World Championship, delayed until August last year. He has been practising with last year’s runner-up in Kyren Wilson as well as Mark Allen.

In addition, he went into the last Worlds having just attended the funeral of Brandon Parker, his manager and long-term confidant.

That was very, very tough,” he said. “Plus, I went to the UK Championship this season, turned on my phone and head my uncle had died. He wasn’t even ill. It’s been a horrible year for that sort of stuff.

“There’s so many times this year I would have picked up the phone to Brandon. He was like a second father to me and leaves such a big hole in my life on and off the table.”

There have been other hardships over the years too, some of which he’s discussed in the past, some of which he touches upon in conversation and some of which he plans to save for another day.

There’s a few misconceptions about me,” he said. “I had a very, very hard upbringing. It wasn’t the bowl of fruit people think it was. There was loads of things. The bullying as a kid. Financially it was very turbulent. My parents were big drinkers at some points and there was a lot of volatility there. There’s a good film in there one day!

His own life is now settled with his wife and two children in Dublin where they relocated from Nottinghamshire for more family support.

And the hope is the 38-year-old can add a second world title to the one won 16 years ago.

If you’d asked a 22-year-old me in 2005 if I’d win more than one world title, I’m sure I would have said ‘yes’,” he said. “I’ve got very close since – I was within a few frames in 2015 – but it’s not that easy.

The 2015 loss to Stuart Bingham in the final is still the one that rankles and tellingly he hasn’t been past the second round at the Crucible since.

The loss in 2015 really left a scar and hurt me,” he admitted. “That’s our Everest and to get so close to the top of it and then collapse down the mountain, it’s left a mark on me for a few years.

“But the asterisk to that is that I’m sat in my snooker room at home with a replica World Championship trophy. So, I have that in my locker. I’ve just run into a few superheroes in the years since.

“I will try my absolute best to win again. I believe I’m good enough. And if I don’t win? I’ll just go home and play with the kids.

Did anyone interview the qualifiers?

Yess !!! Hector Nunns interviewed Mark Joyce!

Screenshot 2021-04-16 at 14.19.04s Mark Joyce pre Crucible 2021

2021 Crucible Draw and format

In case you missed the draw you can watch it on the WST YouTube Channel

And here is the result:

2021CrucibleDraw

and WST announcement:

2021 Betfred World Championship – The Draw

The draw for the 2021 Betfred World Championship has been made with World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan being pitted against Crucible debutant Mark Joyce.

The Rocket will step out on Saturday morning at 10am to begin his 2021 campaign against world number 46 Joyce, who will be appearing at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time in his career after 15 years as a professional.

World number one Judd Trump has been drawn against Liam Highfield, who made his Crucible debut in 2018. Trump, the 2019 World Champion, has notched up five ranking titles this season. Highfield beat world number 17 Zhou Yuelong in the final round of this year’s qualifying event.

Asian number one Ding Junhui has been been handed a mouth-watering opening round tie against 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham.

Mark Williams, who picked up his third Crucible crown in 2018, is up against debutant Sam Craigie in round one, while last year’s runner-up Kyren Wilsonfaces former semi-finalist Gary Wilson.

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Mark Joyce

Anthony McGill (16) v Ricky Walden

Ding Junhui (9) v Stuart Bingham

Stephen Maguire (8) v Jamie Jones

————————————

John Higgins (5) v Tian Pengfei

Mark Williams (12) v Sam Craigie

Mark Allen (13) v Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (4) v Kurt Maflin

————————————

Neil Robertson (3) v Liang Wenbo

Jack Lisowski (14) v Ali Carter

Barry Hawkins (11) v Matthew Selt

Kyren Wilson (6) v Gary Wilson

————————————

Shaun Murphy (7) v Mark Davis

Yan Bingtao (10) v Martin Gould

David Gilbert (15) v Chris Wakelin

Judd Trump (2) v Liam Highfield

Click here for the format of play and for details of how to buy tickets click here. The main event runs from April 17 to May 3 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Ronnie has a reasonably good draw, and, if he gets past the ever tricky first round will probably be able to build himself into form if needed. There are however no easy matches at the Crucible.

Ding has been served a brutal first round match, and, from what we saw in the qualifiers, Stuart Bingham has to be favourite to win this one.

Jack Lisowski is also up against it, having to beat the in-form Ali Carter in the last 32.

John Parrott mentions during the draw that if Ronnie is not ready to dig deep he will not win it. I’m not sure it’s that simple. Ronnie has tried in every match this season. He might not be ready to allow anyone to dictate the style of the match though, even if that means taking risks. This is what he did in the semi finals last year.

He has been reflecting on this match:

Ronnie O’Sullivan calls Mark Selby a ‘bad loser’ ahead of World Championship

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

“It sounded like he was a bit of a bad loser really. He didn’t really take it well.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan has described Mark Selby as a “bad loser” following last year’s World Championship semi-final defeat to O’Sullivan.

‘The Rocket’ won a deciding frame shootout, having been 14-16 down, to win 17-16 and advance to the final. He went on to clinch his sixth World Championship, and first since 2013.

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

Mark Selby.

However, after the game, Selby accused his opponent of being “disrespectful” by the way he was playing early on in that semi-final.

“I felt like it was a little bit disrespectful the way he played,” Selby told BBC Sport back in August.

“Every time I got him in a snooker he just went down and hit the ball at 100mph and it could have gone anywhere.

“Whether he was just in that frame of mind but felt it was a little disrespectful for me at the table.”

Ahead of this year’s World Championship, which begins at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield this weekend, O’Sullivan has described Selby as a “bad loser” and admitted that the incident has affected their relationship.

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

I didn’t realise that result had affected him as much as it had,” O’Sullivan told Sporting Life.

Sometimes you can want something too bad, and then it’s hard to brush off a defeat, let alone a defeat how he felt like he was defeated.

“After listening to his after match interview, it sounded like he was a bit of a bad loser really. He didn’t really take it well.

“I was a bit surprised. I thought he would have given me a bit more credit for hanging in there and playing three amazing frames at the end and getting the victory. It seems he didn’t take it in that spirit.

“That’s for him to get over. It doesn’t seem like he’s able to get over it really. They can be tough matches, I’ve had one or two of them in my career. They linger on for a bit. Hopefully, he gets his head around it and moves on from it.”

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

Ronnie O’Sullivan comeback.

The 45-year-old was asked whether it was the way he had fought back during that semi-final that had rattled Selby.

Oh yeah. A hundred per cent. I didn’t realise at the time because obviously you’re on such a high and you’ve won,” O’Sullivan replied.

But actually, if you were to sit down and listen to his interview and listen to some of the things he’s said, you’d have to go that’s coming from somewhere. It’s obviously bothered him to a certain extent.

“Listen, it would bother me I think, if I had one hand on the trophy, and all of a sudden someone has just come along and taken it away from you.

Ronnie Selby Crucible 2020 SF

It’s not an easy one to get over, but until he gets over it and it’s properly put to bed, it’s a little bit difficult. I suppose it has changed the relationship in many ways because it’s affected him.

I’d rather he’d won, been happy, and he would have been in a good place. Until he gets himself through that, I don’t know. It’s something he needs to get over for him to move on.

He would know how it feels, because he’s been there himself after losing to Selby in the 2014 World Final. It took him a very long time to get over it. It’s interesting, and endearing, that he derives no satisfaction whatsoever from seeing his rival in the same position, quite the opposite.

Also, snooker and winning at snooker are no more matters of life or death for him. In this context Ronnie spoke to Phil Haigh explaining how he has evolved from being only a snooker player to being a more complete person:

It was pretty foolish of me to think ‘I’m Ronnie O’Sullivan, snooker player.’ That’s not it

gettyimages-Ronnie enters the arenaRonnie O’Sullivan is heading back to the Crucible as world champion and much more (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has plenty on his mind outside of snooker as he prepares to defend his World Championship title in Sheffield, but he wouldn’t have it any other way as he continues to diversify his interests away from the baize.

The Rocket is hoping to win a seventh world title this year, equalling Stephen Hendry’s record in the process, and cement his place as the greatest player of all time.

He is working hard to achieve that goal, playing in the majority of events this season, reaching five ranking finals and is putting in the practice ahead of his latest trip to the Crucible.

The 45-year-old is not just focussing on his world title campaign, which will start on Saturday morning in South Yorkshire, though.

He has opened his own shop in Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Centre and announced a new global ambassadorial with Rokit, while also competing in cross country races in his spare time.

It’s a busy time for O’Sullivan, in a point of the season when most players have all their attention on Sheffield, he is glad that he doesn’t as he endeavours to keep snooker one of a wide range of interests in his life.

‘It was pretty foolish of me to think, “I’m Ronnie O’Sullivan – snooker player.” That’s not it,’ Ronnie told Metro.co.uk.

‘I had to open myself up to other opportunities and let people know. It was interesting, a lot of people said, “I wouldn’t have thought you’d want to get involved in it.

But I’m like, “no no no, of course!” Five 10 years ago I wasn’t but I’ve realised that was to my own detriment. Just through conversations you realise there’s a lot of things I can do.

My problem now is not saying “yes” to everything or else I don’t do them properly, because you’ve got too much going on. I’m trying to manage expectations now, I’m happy to do stuff but there’s only so much I can give and if that’s fine, great, if not then it’s not going to work.

People may have been surprised that O’Sullivan was interested in working with them, but Ronnie says misconceptions about him have long been a problem.

The Rocket has never been afraid to speak his mind or filter what he says in public, giving off a certain impression, but he says that opinions of him change after time in his company.

O’Sullivan explained: ‘I think there’s a perception of me and when people get to know me they say: “That’s not how I expected you to be.

‘That’s because I haven’t been media trained, for one, or had a crisis management team in there to put right something that portrayed me in the wrong way, but I was never really bothered about that.

‘It was water off a duck’s back in many ways. I never read the papers, I was so focused on what I wanted to do that it never bothered me.

‘I understand nowadays a lot of stuff on social media it can get to players, bullying online, but for me I was so focused on the job in hand that I never focused on what anyone was saying or thought about me because I was so focused on what I had to do.

‘In a way I blocked it out which was a good thing in one way but maybe I could have managed the media side a bit better, but you just do what you think’s right at the time.’

On the suggestion that his filter-free comments are what draws many fans to him, Ronnie said: ‘Possibly, I think I’ve got a good relationship with the snooker fans and people that come to watch me. It’s alright.’

O’Sullivan says his idea to try and become much more than a snooker player came from his year away from the sport in 2012/13, when he took the entire season off between winning his fourth and fifth world titles.

He realised that he wanted to play the game and also that he needed other options if snooker was ever unavailable to him in future.

I had to make the choice because I didn’t like the idea of not playing snooker and that being it,’ said O’Sullivan.

I had a year out and didn’t really have anything to fall back on. I don’t really want to be in that situation again, it taught me a lesson to look a bit ahead.

‘Develop a life without snooker, add a bit of snooker in there and I’ve got the best of both worlds. I’ve had to work hard to get that, it doesn’t happen overnight but now I’m able to go out there and swing freely.

‘Some players might look forward to the end of the career and happy living a quiet life. Other people might not and feel like they’re in a midlife crisis not knowing what to do with their time.

Ronnie 6th WC
O’Sullivan beat Kyren Wilson to claim a sixth world title last August (Picture: PA)

That’s why I had to educate myself. If you’re aware of your situation and what you want to do in your life you’ll always seek out what you need to seek out. For me the timing was right, I looked around and thought, “this can’t be the only option.”

‘You look into other things, opportunities arise and once people know that you’re interested then there’s a lot of people that want to work with you.

The Rocket has gone down a few avenues already, writing novels, a cookbook, talking of running care homes and works with homeless charities.

His shop is his most recent venture, but he would not confirm what’s next for him, other than to say we should expect plenty.

There’s some things I can’t talk about because they’re yet to happen but there are a couple of exciting things going to come off,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of planning going on, so obviously nothing I can say, but a few exciting projects coming along.’

As for his chance of success in Sheffield again, he knows he will have to improve on the form that has seen him fail to win a title since his Crucible triumph last season, but also knows he is well capable of doing just that.

I’ll have to play better than I have done all season because Sheffield is a different tournament,’ he said. ‘Longer matches, often it’s not about being brilliant it’s about being steady and solid.

‘If I can find something and carry that through to Sheffield then who knows? If I don’t then I’m not going to detract from having a good year, I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been good fun.’

O’Sullivan will begin the defence of his title on the opening day of the tournament on Saturday 17 April.

Ronni has indeed opened a shop in Meadow Hall near Sheffield and has shared a few pictures and a short video

Having other projects might be a distraction, but it might also ease the pressure as snooker is no more all and everything in his life.