Ahead of the Masters 2018: Steve Davis on Ronnie

This was published by Worldsnooker  yesteday, and by part of the press as well

Snooker legend Steve Davis believes Ronnie O’Sullivan is still improving, and could still win tournaments in his 50s.

O’Sullivan will be defending his title at the Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace next week and aiming to win the tournament for the eighth time.

At the age of 42, O’Sullivan has produced some of the best form of his career in recent months, winning the English Open, Shanghai Masters and UK Championship since October.

Davis, who will be a pundit for BBC Sport next week, said: “Ronnie is effectively becoming the ultimate player and he doesn’t appear to suffer from pressure or tension in his game.

“Throughout his career he has had blips along the way, but I don’t think his game as a snooker player, or his mind as a snooker player, has ever stopped improving. When you see him around the table he is almost impervious to damage. He’s got such a good temperament and doesn’t seem so emotional out in the arena.

Steve Davis

“He’s an even more complete, mature player than he has been in the past. It’s astonishing to think that even into his 40s, he’s still the most feared player. He’s got a B game which can win events, and very few players can do that. Going into any event, the other players are fearful of what Ronnie can achieve when he’s at the top of his game, and they know they have to produce their best standard.

“He could become the first to win a title over the age of 50. He might relish the challenge of holding back the tide of age and the prospect of beating the young kids when he is 50. I was hanging on in the top 16 at 50, but not threatening ranking events. That challenge might appeal to him.”

The Dafabet Masters runs from January 14 to 21 with 16 of snooker’s top stars battling for the Triple Crown title and a top prize of £200,000. Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Ding Junhui are among those competing.

Tickets for many sessions have already SOLD OUT but they are still available for certain sessions – fans should book fast by calling 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 13p per minute plus the network access charge) or CLICK HERE

That Ronnie could still do it at 50, I’m sure, that he will want to do it… not so sure. But time will tell.

Hustle or Crucible?

Ronnie also spoke yesterday with Desmond Kane (Eurosport) and hinted that he could – possibly – miss the World Championship 2018.

So here is the article:

Ronnie O’Sullivan threatens to miss World Championship for reality TV

Desmond Kane

Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed he could forfeit the chance to bid for a sixth World Championship due to his business interests off the table.

O’Sullivan has said he could be filming a second series of reality TV programme Hustle in Australia – where he plays pool against local players – when the sport’s biggest tournament begins on April 21 in Sheffield.

He has not missed a World Championship since his first appearance as a teenager at the event in 1993.

“Eurosport events are a priority for me,” said O’Sullivan after his emphatic 4-0 victory over world number 113 Duane Jones at the Northern Ireland Open. “The China events are a priority for me because of my commitment to sponsors.

“If I wasn’t to play in this year’s World Championships, or play in the UK. Or play in any of those tournaments like the German Masters, don’t be surprised. Because I know I can’t play every week.

“For me, I don’t need another UK, another world or another Masters. If my agent thinks it is right for me to go, I’ll go.

” It is a toss up whether I’ll do another Hustle or play in the World Championship in May. I can’t do both. “

“If I do another Hustle, I can’t really play in the World Championship.”

O’Sullivan is the sport’s leading money winner this season having won the English Open in Barnsley and the Shanghai Masters on Saturday. He has also lost finals at the Hong Kong Masters and the Champion of Champions.

“It is good that I’m doing well now because then it doesn’t really matter about the World Championships,” said O’Sullivan. “We’ll just have to wait and see. It is nice to have a safety net.

“I have to prioritise the events I play in. I want to do another Hustle because that is something away from snooker that I can do. There are no restrictions there.

“It is about getting the balance right. 17 days at Sheffield is okay if you win it, but if you don’t win it is a waste of time.

“For me, it is just about managing my time and my diary. I don’t think it is going to be possible to do the show and the World Championships because I have a few things I want to do at the end of May.

“I’ve got some other stuff to do in early June in China. I have a really great relationship with the people in China. It is more important that I put Hustle and that first.”

O’Sullivan has hinted that he would be open to sitting down and listening to a sponsor if there is the incentive of appearance money, a principle World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has publicly rejected.

“For me, the World Championship is just another tournament. It is about doing what is right for Ronnie, not just being too focused on titles. That is the old me,” said O’Sullivan.

“If the terms are right and we can agree to certain stuff, there should be a way round it. If not, then Hustle is something that is on the table. Everyone enjoyed the last one in America. “

“There is loads of people who want me to do another one in Australia; I have to look beyond snooker. For me, this is just a shop window. It is tournaments rather than doing I’m A Celebrity. It is just keeping playing and having fun.

“I know people want to see my playing snooker, but there are other things I like to do away from snooker. Those are the reasons I’m happy today so why would I turn my back on something that has made me happy?

“If people can get round the table and come to some common sense..but it is difficult sometimes to come to that middle ground. You have to make some tough decisions.

“I probably have to give them six or seven weeks notice before they begin doing their research in Australia. They go out there and pick spots and places to go. Once the wheels in motion, you can’t let them down. Otherwise there won’t be another series of Hustle.

“Once I commit to it, I have to commit to it. If people want me there, they’ll get round the table sooner rather than later because it is never nice to leave it to the last minute.

“It is not just money, there are certain other things. My agent will sit down with me, and we’ll make the decision.”

O’Sullivan thumped Jones in a very one-sided encounter to reach the third round of the tournament and a last-32 meeting with Elliot Slessor on Thursday.

Obviously, as a fan, I want to see Ronnie play at the Crucible and it certainly wouldn’t be the same without him. But, at the end of the day, he’s nearly 42, it’s his life, his career, his future … and his happiness, therefore it’s his decision and his only. I still really hope things get sorted and that somehow he can do both.

And I don’t like the word “threatens”, he’s not threatening anyone.

 

 

Ronnie speaks about Steve Davis …

Ronnie speaks very fondly about Steve Davis in this interview by the Express

Ronnie O’Sullivan reveals why THIS photograph is his favourite

CHAMPION Ronnie, 41, recalls a chance meeting with his idol Steve Davis when he was 10 and a snooker match he’ll never forget.

Ronnie-O-Sullivan-and-Steve-Davis

This is me, aged 10, meeting my snooker hero, Steve Davis for the first time. I’d been playing in a snooker competition at my local club in Barking that day and my dad suggested a Chinese takeaway on the way home.

When he rang the restaurant, the owner said they had snooker player David Steven dining with them.

Dad, who’d never heard of a snooker player by that name, asked if he meant Kirk Stevens, but he insisted it was David Steven.

When we got there, it turned out it was Steve Davis. Dad urged me to say hello and ask for his autograph.

I was very nervous, but I summoned up the courage to shake his hand and Steve asked what my name was.

When I told him, he said, “Oh, you’re that young kid who has just had the century break.”

It had been in all the snooker magazines because I was the youngest player ever to have made 100, but I was still gobsmacked.

Steve Davis had heard of me. Fortunately, my dad had his camera so he took a snap of me and Steve. Mum later had it enlarged and it’s now displayed at her house alongside my trophies.

It’s mad when you think about it – Steve was the then world champion, little suspecting that the boy pictured next to him would also go on to become world champion. I

have huge respect for Steve and I’ve studied his game a lot. I’d watch him on television and mimic everything he did. I still do to a certain extent.

Steve was a machine. A lot of players didn’t play with much confidence and you didn’t fancy their chances, whereas Steve would pot one ball after another – bang, bang, bang – and you thought he was never going to miss.

Part of his secret was that he spent hours practising, perfecting his technique. A few players would try tricky shots, but often the secret to successful snooker is getting the basics right.

Steve was better at that than anyone. If you were going to model your game on anyone, I’d say model it on him.

We first played together when he invited me to practise with him at Romford Snooker Centre when I was 15. I felt honoured and kept telling myself I mustn’t embarrass myself, if I stole one frame that would be great.

So when he beat me 5-3, I was quietly pleased. I’d given him a good game.

Looking back, I wish I’d been a bit more brutal, but it’s difficult when you’re in complete awe of someone.

One of our most memorable professional games was in 1997 when he beat me in the Benson and Hedges Masters final. I was 8-4 up at the interval, and I thought there was no way he would catch up. He beat me 10-8 and I didn’t get a shot.

It was sad to see him retire after a 38-year career in the spring of 2016. We’ve never seen much emotion from Steve, but it was obviously a massive thing for him, particularly as his decision came a month after the death of his father, Bill.

He admitted he’d continued playing as long as he had partly for him. All the players knew Bill. He was a lovely guy. He fitted my first snooker table with his other son, Keith.

He and Steve were like an old married couple. I can relate to that because although my dad is a very different character, we also have a close bond. Both dads wanted the best for their sons.”

There is also a very different interview in the mirror, where Ronnie speaks about how he felt when Laila was trapped in the Barcelona attack, how she helps him to stay away from drinking and how he leaves it to his father to decide if and when he should retire.

Ronnie O’Sullivan reveals horror moment fiancée called while hiding from terrorist in freezer

The snooker star has told how he felt ‘helpless’ as his fiancée hid from the attacker in a restaurant after a van ploughed through the busy Las Ramblas, killing 13 people and injuring 80

21:47, 18 NOV 2017

Of all the dark moments in troubled snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan ’s life, this was the most chilling.

His mobile went off as he headed back to his hotel from a match – and on the other end of the line was distraught fiancée Laila Rouass : she was hiding in a restaurant freezer room during August’s Barcelona terror attack.

She had run for cover with her 10-year-old daughter Inez after a van ploughed through the busy Las Ramblas, killing 13 people and injuring 80.

Armed police were combing the tourist area looking for the murderous driver, 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub.

And Ronnie, 42, knew a similar attack on London Bridge in June had seen more people killed after the terrorists had abandoned their vehicle.

Today, for the first time, the 41-year-old five times world champ speaks of his despair and fear as he took the call.

“I felt helpless,” he says. “I just wanted them both to be safe.

“We just kept talking. I was very nervous for them. She then started making her way back to her hotel amid the pandemonium. We kept talking until she got back into the room.

“It hit me later when I started watching it on CNN live. I thought ‘s**t this is serious’. It was a huge relief to know they were both safe. That’s the times we live in now.”

Former Holby City and Strictly star Laila, 46, has been a rock for Ronnie.

The pair have been engaged since 2013 and he says they spend every night together when he’s not on tour.

Ronnie leans on Laila for support and credits her with helping him stay on the straight and narrow.

The star has battled depression and been in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction over the years, and praises her for helping him stay off the bottle.

“I’m with someone who doesn’t drink,” he says. “Once I start I don’t want to stop. If you surround yourself with positive people, hopefully they rub off on you.”

But one thing The Rocket isn’t ready to give up yet is his sport. He’s given that decision to dad Ronnie Snr who has served life for a gangland killing.

“I ring my dad up, saying, ‘I know I’m not young any more, but should I quit?’,” says Ronnie. “He’ll tell me I’m alright. He’s warned me he will tell me if he thinks I need to retire.

“And if he did, I would think seriously about it.

“But there is bit left in the tank. I just want to see if I’ve still got it.”

Quick news from the airport

Ronnie was on twitter and Facebook this morning, whilst waiting at the airport en route to Shanghai…

Here is what he said:

Massive thanks for everyone who supported me during the champions of champions.. glad I made a match of it in the end.. gutted I lost though. But I’ll be back as arnie said 🙏🏆have a great day

and

just at the airport, shanghai bound, if you got a bit of time like me here is the podcast i did with tim lovejoy couple of weeks ago
https://itunes.apple.com/…/podca…/dear-lovejoy/id1196671475…

Download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes of Dear Lovejoy by Dear Lovejoy for free.
ITUNES.APPLE.COM

The interview is well worth listening!

Safe trip to Ronnie …

 

 

Championof Champions 2017 – Day 6

Shaun Murphy is our second finalist as he came from behind to beat Luca Brecel yesterday evening.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Shaun Murphy came from 4-2 down to beat Luca Brecel 6-4 and set up a 188BET Champion of Champions final against Ronnie O’Sullivan on Sunday.

It will be the first final the pair have contested since the 2009 Premier League as O’Sullivan goes for his third Champion of Champions title, while Murphy appears in his first final at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

Brecel made a stylish start to the semi-final in front of a packed Coventry crowd, opening with a 68 which was by no means straightforward. He had a 3-1 lead at the interval and could have extended it further had he not misjudged a shot on the pink, allowing Murphy in to see out a frame in which he’d already amassed a 48 break.

The Belgian restored his two-frame lead immediately, but a fantastic 131 clearance saw Murphy back to within one. ‘The Magician’ had an opportunity to level in the eighth but ran out of position on 28. Both players faltered again in the same frame, before Murphy capitalised when given the chance with a confident 73.

The Gibraltar Masters champion, who hadn’t won at match at this tournament prior to this year, moved to within one by taking the ninth. The first eight frames had averaged less than 12 minutes each, but as the match edged towards a conclusion things became understandable more tense.

A gripping safety battle was the feature of the tenth, but victory was Murphy’s when Brecel first missed the brown and then overplayed his second attempt, allowing ‘The Magician’ to take the final colours for victory.

I needed patience at the end, and it was important to be calm and maybe that was the little thing that I had tonight,” said Murphy.

Since Ronnie came on the scene in the early 90s, he has been the ultimate challenge in snooker. He has been the ultimate benchmark for players to test themselves against and he blew the field away at the English Open last month – 98% pot success in the final and he missed only six shots in the match.

“I will come tomorrow and try my best, give it everything I have got and enjoy myself. It is about forgetting everything else and just remembering we are two men having a game of snooker.

“I knew what I was going to get tonight, you know how Luca is going to play – he is a phenomenal player, a great potter, a great scorer. I don’t think it is a question of if he will be a major champion, it is a question of when. He is a great talent and a really nice lad as well.

Brecel said: “I didn’t play well at all today. It was a good experience, but I wanted to win today. I want to win everything so I am disappointed, but that is snooker and I will learn from it.”

Broadcast on ITV4 in the UK and on networks around the world, the 188BET Champion of Champions carries a £370,000 prize fund with the winner taking home £100,000.

SEMI-FINAL RESULT
Shaun Murphy 6-4 Luca Brecel
4-77 (Brecel 68), 87-0, 40-90 (Brecel 63), 27-80 (Murphy 80), 69-1, 13-70, 131-0 (Murphy 131), 101-0 (Murphy 73), 72-14, 65-45

Elsewhere, Ronnie talked to Hector Nunns about his new diet and how he expects him to help him keep his form across an extremely busy schedule:

Ronnie O’Sullivan reveals secret to his superb form – This will surprise you

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN insists his superb form is down to a new diet that helps him cope with a gruelling schedule.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

GETTY

Ronnie O’Sullivan has put his form down to a new diet

The Rocket has blasted into today’s [Sun] Champion of Champions final having last month won the English Open with a sizzling display.

O’Sullivan, 41, is into a fourth straight final at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and has lost just one of 15 matches at the venue.

The prestigious winner’s tournament is one of seven events almost back-to-back involving constant shuttling between China and Europe.

And O’Sullivan hopes the regime will prevent him suffering the same fate as a bleary-eyed world No1 Mark Selby in Coventry, who was almost falling asleep at the table.

O’Sullivan, who made a 900th career century in his semi-final win over Anthony Hamilton, said: “I have lost a stone in the last few weeks.

“And I can finally get my trousers back on now! That is despite not being able to run because of a bad ankle injury.

“For two years I had to wear this right manky old pair of trousers which haven’t been comfortable, but it was all I could get my legs into.

“And I think the good food I am eating is really helping me to relax and cope with the pressures of playing and the effects of all the travelling.

“I had to look at diet a lot more carefully because I have been picking up so many injuries I can’t put the running in I was doing before. I have been talking to nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert.

“The alternative is an operation and I don’t want that right now, it would mean six months without being able to get about, or play snooker, or do any of the other things.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

GETTY

“I can’t eat what I used to because I am not running like I used to. I am like a sponge and like to learn about new things.

“I feel more alert out there in the arena, I don’t drink tea and coffee like I used to, and I want every advantage I can get. I notice the changes, I am nearly 42 now, and I need that help.

“The schedule has been very tough on a lot of the players. I did look carefully in advance at this run of seven tournaments on the bounce.

“And for me when I entered them I viewed it as seven raffle tickets, and I was looking at having one or two decent runs. You couldn’t possibly win them all.

“It is not nice as a professional to play in a big tournament below your best, as Mark Selby clearly was at the Champion of Champions. He looked shattered.

“It doesn’t give people the best chance of winning, and that is why you get so many different winners because of the schedule.

“If I had been him, winning the International Championship in Daqing, I’d have pulled out of this tournament.

“I don’t want to go on TV in front of your fans who pay to come and see you and struggle. If it was a game show and people paid to watch you struggle, it would be different.

“But it isn’t, this is professional snooker and you want to be ready. I felt a bit sorry for Mark, he could have stayed in China for Shanghai this week or come home and had a week off.

“It’s never good to lose, no one likes it, but not so bad if you have given it everything. It’s not so good if it’s because you weren’t in good enough shape.”

Of course only those who don’t follow Ronnie on twitter will be “surprised” by the diet part. Regarding the schedule, Ronnie is right of course and, frankly, I would be surprised if he did well in Shanghai.

Great stuff with Jimmy and Ronnie

This time from the Telegrapgh

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White: ‘We still have a bit of fun on the road  – we always seem to pick up the bill’

telemmglpict000143357734_trans_nvbqzqnjv4bqdo1phbppib1hbzscuhlbe_l9-fj5gjll9qadkudheo0
Jimmy White, left, and Ronnie O’Sullivan are having fun in the commentary box after lighting up the snooker circuit between them for the past four decades
CREDIT: EDDIE MULHOLLAND FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Snooker’s two greatest talents, two men who have given sports fans some of the greatest thrills and most gutting disappointments of our lifetimes. Between them they have survived cancer, a dad imprisoned for murder, endless disciplinary controversies, divorce, booze, bankruptcy, and even having to play Stephen Hendry. Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan sat down together with Telegraph Sport in a King’s Cross snooker club, and this is what they had to say about life, the green baize, and everything…

O’Sullivan: I loved his flair, the way he played the game. All the other players, they were all cueing up [O’Sullivan mimes a doddery, arthritic caution] like this, but Jimmy had style. Alex Higgins too, they had that charm about them. I think Ayrton Senna said like “it was pure racing”. When Jimmy and Alex played, it was pure snooker. And I think other people sort of destroyed that organic feeling, you know? They try and coach it out of themselves in some sort of way, become like robots. Jimmy brought rock ’n’ roll to snooker.

White: I’d heard about him when he was a young kid but I hadn’t seen him. I played him at Norbreck Castle when he was a teenager: I won the first game and lost the next five. I was, you know, a sort of on-the-road person then and I wasn’t really playing. But I knew at the time it was great for snooker, a breath of fresh air, and the game needed an amazing talent like that. He took the attacking stuff from me and he watched Steve Davis for the brilliant defence and combined them for the full package. But then with his own talent he produced this magical way of there being nothing on the table and then clearing the balls up. He took the game to a new level.

O‘Sullivan: Talking about combining, Stephen Hendry had that quality like he was half-robot, half-human, I call him a hybrid. [White laughs]. You need that to be a prolific winner, but if the sport only had that sort of player would it be as entertaining? Probably not. But Jimmy, Jimmy would just turn up in his suit, bring excitement to a room, a whole place. He’s unique.

Jimmy & Ronnie
CREDIT: EDDIE MULHOLLAND FOR THE TELEGRAPH

[White has now pulled a large wad of money of his pocket and is jokingly passing it to O’Sullivan by way of payment for the testimonial.]

White: We are similar sort of people. We like to go out, have a good time.

O’Sullivan: I showed him the ropes, you know.

White: He gives me 21 at that game now. I don’t go out all that much any more, I enjoy the normal things in life, but we have a bit of fun occasionally. When you’re on the road, you’d have quite a few people with you, and they wouldn’t perhaps be able to enjoy themselves like we do. So we treat people. Me and Ronnie always seem to pick up most of the bills.

[Stories of White “on the road” are of course legendary, from popping out to the shops and coming back a fortnight later; to taking his dead brother to the pub; to epic benders at Ronnie Wood’s house with a white-gloved Keith Richards serving the drinks as White and O’Sullivan played a snooker match. Between them they made nine centuries in 11 frames: perhaps they should let Keef do the refreshments at The Crucible.

I ask White if he ever feels under pressure from an adoring public to be the life and soul, but he interprets the question in a way I wasn’t anticipating].

Hendry & Jimmy
Jimmy White shakes hands with Stephen Hendry before the 1994 World Snooker Championship final (the last of White’s six finals [to date]) CREDIT: ALLSPORT UK/ALLSPORT/GETTY IMAGES

White: Listen, I could have won the World Championship. Obviously if I had the chance to do it all again I would do things differently. But then would I have still wanted to play? Being realistic it is very difficult for me to win the tournament now but my game’s not gone. I still enjoy it. What I should have done is prepared better.

O’Sullivan: I would have changed a few things too. There was a period from about 19 to 25 when I just got absolutely hammered. I smoked myself to death. Skunked myself to death. And that was a coping mechanism for me. Because I think my dad going away when I was 16 kind of hit me but didn’t really hit me. And it took time for that to sink in. Once it did, well by then I needed a release. And I found the release in the wrong things basically. If I had found the release in doing triathlons I would have been Olympic champion by now probably. Once I get stuck into something I take it to its limits. And I think that’s what I did with drinking and smoking dope for a while. And them six years, if I could change them I would.

White: Talent, it can become a trap. Back in the day, when there weren’t so many good players, you’d have a good time and then you’d do a couple of days practice during a tournament but that’d be it. You’d get it back together, and you probably had the natural talent to get into the semis or something. But that’s no way to be in sport. And sometimes you’d win, and you might be laughing with your mates, thinking: ‘Oh, I have won that and the only practice I have done is in the tournament.’ And you get big-headed. You think you’re better than you are. But the game’s bigger than anyone.

01:06

[O’Sullivan and White have been doing TV punditry and have surprised themselves with how much they’re enjoying it]

White: Ronnie asked me to do Eurosport about 18 months ago and I thought ‘I really don’t want to do that’. But it has been fantastic. I watched more snooker in the last 18 months than I have done in 40 years.

O’Sullivan: I could never watch a game of snooker before. After half an hour I’d be like: ‘Oh no. I’ve got to go.’

White: Yeah! And now we’re like, ‘Here, this is good.’ And not gambling. When I was gambling I could watch it, but I’m not gambling now and we’re like on the edge of our seat. In that studio, watching it, really enjoying it. And a couple of special things have happened. A friend of Ronnie’s – I know him, I get on with him and I get on with most people but I don’t really have many friends, more associates. Yeah so this kid called Anthony Hamilton won his first tournament last year [the German Masters] and it was such a great thing. And then we had Mark King, who was sort of a journeyman, and he went and won one. So there’s been a lot happening. Being there live was good, wasn’t it?

O‘Sullivan: Yeah it was. We get really into it.

White: Before Hamilton won in Germany, he’d got to the semi in the Northern Ireland Open, he was hitting the balls great, about to win the frame he needed, and we were going ‘this is effing brilliant’. And then he lost the match in the worst way.

Ronnie Masters
Ronnie O’Sullivan lifts the Paul Hunter Trophy after winning the Masters at Alexandra Palace last January while Jimmy White applauds CREDIT: JOHN WALTON/PA WIRE

O‘Sullivan: Yeah, he like touched the white. Feathered it. It was so bad. And if he’d went out and hanged himself you’d have gone: ‘Yeah, I get it.’

White: Yeah.

O’Sullivan: For a snooker player, you know, I get it. You’d want to check on him that night. Make sure he’s all right. Anyway, he come in afterwards and he said: ‘You know two weeks ago I didn’t even have enough money to enter the tournament.’ And this is like one of my mates, we grew up practising together. And he’s the most beautiful guy. And you don’t get to know this about a person but he just come in and told us, we were sitting there like ‘Jesus Christ!’ And he said, ‘I didn’t even want to ask my mum and dad for the money.’

White: Ronnie turned to him and said: ‘Mate, I would have lent you five grand.’ But that was just off the camera because Ronnie was talking to him as a mate. It was quite an emotional thing. And I said: ‘Aw what a —-ing nice guy!’ and the producers were like: ‘You can’t swear! Stop it!’ And then Hamilton went on to win the next tournament.

O‘Sullivan: Yeah, he won his first tournament a couple of weeks later and we were there. [After that white ball] you don’t know how to console him, you don’t know what to say, and then the next month he is wining the German Open. He is a journeyman but he is a class act. His mum and dad were there.

Jimmy
Jimmy White – snooker’s perpetual bridesmaid in World Championship finals CREDIT: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

White: And he was cueing beautiful. Like a top four player. So we’ve enjoyed that. And it’s been good doing the TV with Eurosport. I got such a buzz being there. People come to you for advice.

O’Sullivan: Yeah people come to me, to Jimmy. Liang Wenbo comes to me, we’re both geeing the players up.

White: See your pal Wenbo, he’s another one that could win anything but he has never produced. He’s a brilliant story, Chinese player that has come over. He lives in Essex and he is a good friend of Ronnie’s. He’s getting the advice of Ronnie nearly each round, you know what I mean. Ronnie is saying to him to chill out.

O’Sullivan: I am giving him the diluted version of what I have been getting from [his psychiatrist] Steve Peters. And I know it works so I pass it on: you need to switch off your emotions, because you cannot control your form. All you can control is your mind. You have to realise that you might play the whole match rubbish but you can still control your own mind. So I tell him that.

White: Some of these players now, they might have played for five years and not won a tournament and that’s no life at all. Having to play 12 months a year.

O’Sullivan: It can be lonely for some people, the circuit. But not for us, because we have a life [away from the sport].

White: It’s like the golfers all used to travel together but now they get proper money they all have private jets so they just travel on their own if they can’t stand each other. With us we’re all stuck together …

O’Sullivan: Yeah, stuck on a minibus.

White: Well not quite that but you’re at a service station waving through the window going ‘Hello mate’ but really you’re thinking: ‘Oh just eff off.’

Ronnie
Ronnie O’Sullivan was inspired by watching Jimmy White as a youngster CREDIT: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

O‘Sullivan: A lot of sportsmen when they are not doing their sport they lose their identity. You can play golf, tennis, but unless you’ve had it off and won the Euro Lottery you cannot retire as a snooker player or a dart player. They need to do a bit of commentary, a bit of punditry. But I think it’s important to try and pre-empt that stage so that you, you know … I don’t want to let snooker kill me. I want to use snooker so I can get from 40 to 65. I wanted snooker to be everything that I wanted to do, but then what else do I do with my time? I think I will always play snooker, but I think there will come a point where no matter how good you think you are you, are not going to get the buzz if you are not …

White: Producing.

O’Sullivan: Yeah, producing.

White: So you are weaning yourself off.

O’Sullivan: Yeah

White: I think that’s smart. You have to look at people that’s gone before you.

O’Sullivan: You cannot think: ‘Oh this is not going to happen to me.’ You have to forget that mindset, because you’re not invincible. Because we are all human. We all need purpose in life.”

Watch the English Open live on Eurosport and Quest with studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White. Also available via the Eurosport Player.

Enjoy!

An English Maxi?

Ronnie is speaking “maxi” with Richard Hercock from the Yorkshire Post

English Open: Ronnie O’Sullivan targets maximum return at the Metrodome Ronnie O’Sullivan

RICHARD HERCOCK

Friday 13 October 2017

Ronnie O' Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan will bank a £40,000 bonus if he can add to his record haul of 147 maximum breaks at next week’s English Open. This is the prize for any player achieving a maximum clearance when the tournament cues off at the Barnsley Metrodome on Monday.

O’Sullivan famously banked a £147,000 bonus, plus £18,000 high-break prize for his World Championship maximum in 1997 – a feat he achieved in a record time of five minutes and 20 seconds. But, more infamously, made a 146 break – opting for the pink over the black after the 13th red – at the Crucible last season, in what some perceived to be a deliberate snub of the more modest prize of £5,000. O’Sullivan currently holds the record for 13 maximum breaks. Snooker chiefs have bumped up the 147 prize to £40,000 in a tournament that offers £70,000 to the winner. “There’s nothing like making a 147 in front of a big crowd; they get more excited about that than they do when you win a tournament,” said O’Sullivan. “Once I get halfway through the break my heart starts racing.” Victory in Barnsley next week would see the five-time world champion go level with John Higgins on 29 ranking titles, but still trailing Stephen Hendry’s total of 36. Not that O’Sullivan is obsessed with records these days. “I just enjoy playing, and if I don’t win another tournament then it won’t stop me from playing,” he said. “I don’t look at records. I’m blessed to have won what I have.” Snooker has been transformed under World Snooker boss Barry Hearn, and is a far cry from the sport that O’Sullivan entered over two decades ago. He believes the top six of that era – Hendry, Steve Davis, John Higgins, Jimmy White, Mark Williams and himself – would beat the current top six, including the likes of world No 1 Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy. But he also reckons the strength in depth in the modern game. “Back then there were players in the top 16 who could barely make a century, but now everyone scores heavily. It’s a different game now,” said O’Sullivan, who plays either Ian Burns or Zhang Anda in the first round at Barnsley on Tuesday evening. “But the rest of the players in the top 40 now are much stronger. Me, John Higgins and Mark Williams all came through at the same time and we pushed each other to get better. Higgins is the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced.”