From the Palace … to the kitchen

Ronnie was this morning in his kitchen and live on Facebook, cooking a healthy breakfast with his nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert. Clearly she wouldn’t want him to feel weak because inadequate nutrition …

Just enjoy

I must say I’m envious, such a nice kitchen! I love my cooking and I’m not too bad at it either, this would be a dream. BTW I’ve tried one of Rhiannon recipes and it was really tasty, filling yet light on the stomach and pleasing to the eyes as well!

And, something different entirely, Eurosport recorded this, and shared it on twitter, surely as a combined promo of the snooker and the tennis.

Now … just to hit the ball at that speed, never mind send it back into the court, requires good eye / hand coordination and a fast eyesight. It’s brutal. And… Ronnie isn’t very tall, but he certainly isn’t short  either, just over 1,80 m and he looks tiny as compared to that tennis player!

Happy New Year 2018

Happy2018-2018

And so, this is the last day of 2017 … a year that in many ways has been a rollercoaster on the baize, with a terrific last three months for Ronnie’s fans.

For this blogger however, as some may know, it has been a very dark and difficult year on personal level. When certain things happen, affecting people you love, taking them away from you, you realise how futile most of the spats and fallouts are, be it on social media or in “real life”. So here is my first and most important wish for all who read this blog.

In 2018, and in every day in your life, I’m wishing you health and happiness. I’m wishing you to love and being loved. I’m wishing you to enjoy the little things that brighten everyday life: a good meal with friends, a lovely walk in the woods, the first flower in your garden, the smile on your child’s face, the hug of your partner … even the grumbling of your elderly parent. Don’t take things too seriously. Be yourself. Don’t worry about opinions, don’t try to please everyone, it’s just impossible. Be true, be kind, be forgiving … 

I mean it, every word of it. Now onto more snooker drivel… snooker wishes and stuff!

Selby's prayers

picture shared by Worldsnooker on twitter
  • Ronnie to win World title n°6 … yes, I know, yesterday on twitter Ronnie said, again, that he “might” (might, not will) give the World Championship a miss but he’s got nearly four months to think about it and change his mind a 100 times, something he’s quite prone to do. As a fan I’d love to see him do himself justice and equal Steve Davis record. However, in the spirit of what I wrote above, if he really does skip this year’s Crucible, I won’t go mad. We should never forget that it’s his life, his career, his well-being, his happiness. He owes us nothing. He’s not Worldsnooker employee either, he’s self-employed. He said that the World Championship isn’t his favourite tournament; I can understand that, the pressure and demands he gets there every year, since 25 years, are unreal. The fact that the press immediately jumped on those tweets is testimony enough of the expectations people put on him all the time. But, yes, I still dream and hope for n°6.
  • A big “non betting” company/business to start to support and sponsor snooker … I have expressed my concerns about snooker’s reliance on the betting industry , and the ambiguity of their relationship, often enough, so I won’t repeat myself here. But yes, this is something I’d dearly want to see. It’s never healthy to rely on just one source of sponsoring, it’s even more risky when that source is an industry that is known to generate addictions as well as social and sometimes legal issues. Tobacco and alcohol sponsoring were clamped on. To me it’s only a matter of time before betting sponsoring is strongly “regulated” too.
  • The Seniors Tour to succeed and flourish… Every sportsperson, even the very best, one day finds themself in that position: they still love it, they aren’t quite good enough anymore to compete on the biggest scene. What then? Jason Francis, from Snooker Legends, is trying to develop a “Seniors” tour, giving both 40+ and retired pros a circuit where they can play, entertain, compete, dream and … win! This January there is one qualifying event in Beijing that attracted 80+ players. Such is the demand. This is a big financial risk that Jason took, he’s now got the support of WPBSA, but there is still so much to do. Please, go and attend one of their events. You won’t regret it!

 

Yes, I know, Mark Selby probably won’t pray for my wish n°1 to come true, but I couldn’t resist the picture. And for all the fans who love to hate him … here is what Ronnie got to say about Mark in one of the last Worldsnooker features

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Sport thrives on great rivalries: Jack Nicklaus collided with Arnold Palmer, Bjorn Borg was pitted against John McEnroe and Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are frequently the main contenders for football’s Ballon D’or.

Selby and O’Sullivan is snooker’s modern day version of the clash of the titans. The pair met in an epic UK Championship final in 2016 which produced some of the most captivating snooker ever witnessed at the York Barbican, Selby eventually coming through as the 10-7 victor.

They have now contested finals in each of snooker’s Triple Crown events, with Selby having won three of the five showpiece meetings. However, he has some way to go to reach O’Sullivan’s tally of 18 Triple Crown titles and 31 ranking wins – currently holding 8 and 13 respectively.

The Rocket had previously referred to Selby as the ‘torturer’, but in recent times has come to relish his meetings with the world number one.

O’Sullivan said: “I like playing Mark now. We get on really well. I wouldn’t say we are best mates because I don’t want to be his best friend as we are still rivals. I’d rather keep it that way so when we get on the table there is an element of wanting to beat each other. I like his mindset and he is a winner.

“I see a lot of Stephen Hendry and a lot of me in him. I’ve learnt that his style of play isn’t just based on playing against me. He plays like that against everybody. That’s his game. If he brings that game to the table, you just have to try and break it down.”

Happy New Year 2018!

147 Attempts … and a few questions

Ronnie was with Eurosport UK today, doing some filming ahead of the home nations series

ESFilming13.09.2017

… and attempting to make a 147 live on FB and answering a few questions.

Here is the video shared  by ES UK on FB

Despite not succeeding, Ronnie is confident that his game is in good shape. Regarding his concerns regarding the future of the game in the UK and Europe, one can only agree as yet another tournament has been won by a 40+ last week in Thailand

Mark Williams won the Sangsom Six Red World Championship for the first time by beating local favourite Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 8-2 in the final in Bangkok.

World number 17 Williams dominated the final against Thailand’s Un-Nooh to take the top prize of 3.5 million Baht (around £81,000).

It’s a first title for Welshman Williams since he won the World Seniors Championship in 2015.

Un-Nooh, who won this invitational title in front of his home crowd two years ago, started well with a break of 71 to take the opening frame, and was tied 2-2 after four frames. But two-time World Champion Williams then took control and won the last six frames with a top break of 50, restricting his opponent to just 30 points in that spell.

“When I came here I didn’t have any great hopes of winning this,” said 42-year-old Williams, who is using a new coaching methodthis season in a bid to regain his best. “I battled away and I’m so pleased to win an event. Today was the best I played all week. I wasn’t looking to make any big breaks, just to win frames.

“I think over the years I haven’t got any further than the last 16 of this event so I suppose I’ve surprised myself this week. I’ve won a lot of money playing in Thailand and China and I’ve become a good traveller.”

World number 39 Un-Nooh, who earned 1.3 million Baht, said: “Mark played very well. I couldn’t take any chances and when I missed he had all the answers.”

Polapatr Suvarnazorn, advisor to the president and CEO of the Thai Beverage Public Co.Ltd, presented the winner’s cheque while WPBSA chairman.Jason Ferguson handed over the runner-up prize.

Frames (Williams first) 0-71(71); 49-0;55-1;32-37; 39-0; 38-9; 54-0; 50(50)-0, 49-6;43-15.

News from the twitter mill

Ronnie has been quite active on twitter recently and a few interesting pieces of information have filtered. I won’t quote everything relevant, instead you can just read through his twitter feed with replies over the last few days

Here is what I picked out … apart from his political activism:

There will be a sequel to the “American Hustle”, but this time it will be in China and about snooker rather than pool. That’s great news. Still with Matt Smith and probably filming it next spring/summer.

There will also be a sequel to “Framed”, titled “Double Kiss” and it’s due to be out in November. Ronnie believes it’s better than “Framed”

Regarding his snooker, Ronnie insisted that he has nothing to prove anymore, that it’s about enjoying it for him now and that snooker will have to leave time and space for the other things he’s doing. He won’t play a full calendar and, asked the question, refused to commit event to the majors. That said, answering a fan, he also declared that he believes he still has a sixth World in him, maybe even a seventh. He also revealed that he’s “cueless” right now, his old one being “ruined” and he needs a new one. This didn’t worry Joe Perry, who is playing in Shenzhen in Ronnie’s team later this month: “you only need 5 minutes to get used to a new cue” was the Gentleman reaction to the news.

Finally and just for the funny side of it, the man who admitted in his bios that he hated school, and retweets nutritionists advises at every opportunity, was having dinner with his young son, discussing how important education is nowadays… Enjoy the pictures he shared on twitter and the irony

Now a few thoughts about all this, and in particular Ronnie’s stance on snooker. As a fan, I want to see him play and win. As a person, and friend, I want to see him happy and this is more important to me than the fan’s point of view.

In many ways, this route Ronnie is taking is similar to what Roger Federer does in tennis. He picks and chooses. This season he skipped the clay “leg” completely, including Roland Garros. He was quoted by a commentator saying that it was about enjoyment now for him and that people shouldn’t forget that the reason tennismen started playing as kids is because they enjoyed it. Enjoyment is a big factor in a sportsperson longevity.

In the same vein, I also found this interview of Andre Agassi about his work with Novak Djokovic very revealing. I will quote just a short excerpt, but that I believe is very true and applies to Ronnie as well:

Do those long-term plans have numerical value like catching Roger Federer’s total of 18 Grand Slam wins?

‘It’s not about numbers,’ Agassi smiled. ‘The big long-term plan, for a guy like this, is no regrets. No regrets.

If Ronnie hangs his cue with no regrets, be it in 5, 10 or 20 years, or even tomorrow… I will miss watching him play, big time, but I’ll be happy for him. All of us human beings have only this life to live… even celebrities and sporting heroes. We should not forget.