Ronnie made light work of his last 128 match yesterday. Here are the scores:
O’Sullivan got his tournament underway with a 4-0 whitewash defeat of Stuart Carrington.
The Rocket coasted to the win in just 52 minutes this evening. He composed runs of 90 and 120 on his way to victory.
Despite holding a record 37 career ranking titles, O’Sullivan endured a barren campaign last season in terms of silverware. He reached five ranking finals, but couldn’t convert any into a tournament win. However, he is unconcerned by his wait for title number 38.
O’Sullivan said: “I have tremendous faith in my ability, that if I play alright I should have a chance of winning. If I don’t, I still should have a chance of winning. I’ve won a lot of tournaments not playing my best. I never question my ability. Winning tournaments is just a by-product of what you do. If you consider five finals a bad season, then that is quite a compliment.”
Ronnie played well. He played attacking snooker but wasn’t reckless. He probably missed one easy ball. When he left his opponent a chance, it was never an easy one.
Speaking to Eurosport after the match, Ronnie insisted that he will play this season on his own terms:
Ronnie O’Sullivan has no plan for his schedule for new season: ‘If I don’t feel like playing, I won’t’
“I am always playing catch-up but I have to accept that,” Ronnie O’Sullivan said following his win over Stuart Carrington. ”Playing half a season I am still top-16, top-eight. I need to get a result now and again, but being in the top-16 is not as important as it was. As long as you are in the top-64 you are in the draw.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan has admitted he does not have a plan in place for his schedule for the new season.
O’Sullivan elected to miss the British Open in August, meaning his season kicked off at the Northern Ireland Open on Sunday.
There were no signs of rust as he crushed Stuart Carrington 4-0 to set up a meeting with Andy Hicks on Monday.
O’Sullivan is expected to commit to all of the Home Nations events, but he has said he will leave decisions on entries quite late.
“I don’t have a plan,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “I will just play when I feel like it. If I don’t feel like playing, I won’t.”
O’Sullivan had a packed schedule last season, but says that was on account of the travel restrictions and many events being held in Milton Keynes.
“I didn’t have to go backwards and forwards from China,” O’Sullivan said. “Logistically, normally, I can’t do the flying round the world four times in three weeks.”
The 45-year-old, who was beaten in five finals last season, does not feel he is compromising his ability to challenge for titles by hand-picking his schedule.
“I am always playing catch-up but I have to accept that,” he said.” Playing half a season I am still top-16, top-eight. I need to get a result now and again, but being in the top-16 is not as important as it was. As long as you are in the top-64 you are in the draw.
I have tremendous faith in my ability that if I play well I have a good chance of winning. Even if I don’t I still have a chance, as I have won tournaments when not at my best. I never question my ability.
“Winning tournaments is a by-product of what you do. If being in five finals is a bad season, it is a compliment to my ability.
“I love the game. I prefer practicing and being at home. I don’t enjoy the tournaments as much, as you have so much time. You are hanging around. Filling the boredom up is hard.
“The privilege I get from playing gives me the ability to have the life I want. You need to play a few tournaments as I probably would not get my cue out of my case to practice.”
It’s hard to keep the motivation and stay fresh when you have been playing at the top for nearly 30 years, and actually playing for over 35 years. For Ronnie it’s about managing his schedule, for Mark Williams it’s about keeping practice at a minimum. It may not please their fans, especially if they don’t win as much as they used to, but it’s key to their longevity. We have to enjoy them whilst it lasts.
Here is the interview: