Ronnie reveals collapse

RONNIE O'SULLIVAN has revealed he |collapsed due to exhaustion in the early stages of the season.

The 36-year-old, who was set to resume his World Championship semi-final against Matthew Stevens today with a 5-3 lead, has been a strong critic of the heavy schedule on the snooker tour.

He claims that the demands led directly to the scare he suffered in November, as he prepared to compete in another tournament.

He told several |morning newspapers that it was pushing himself so hard which caused the collapse.

O'Sullivan said: “I have been to events I wouldn't have for fear of getting fined.

“In November, I had to get to a PTC (Players Tour Championship) event in Sheffield when I knew I had to go but felt terrible after a run of travelling and late nights.

“I was on a treadmill, I didn't feel right. I went, and collapsed in a hotel room on the Wednesday. I was so ill I had to get home.

“I probably shouldn't have driven, and got the train, but I wanted to get home. I was close to falling asleep at the wheel.


“That is very dangerous. I could have hurt or even killed myself and others, it was a big |mistake.”

O'Sullivan's charge towards a fourth world title was held up to an extent in a |disappointing session against Stevens last night, when he built a 4-0 lead before being closed down by his Welsh opponent.

Stevens called a costly foul on himself, one which referee Brendan Moore and O'Sullivan had apparently not spotted, in the second frame of the opening eight in their best-of-33-frame contest, which is due to conclude tomorrow.


O'Sullivan fired in a 52 break after Stevens' honest call, and also had runs of 66 and 49, but the form which saw him see off former world champions Peter Ebdon, Mark Williams and Neil Robertson in the opening three rounds was rarely |evident.

Stevens' decency was a rare moment worthy of note, another being a nearby fire alarm that broached the sound of silence in the opening frame.

Meanwhile, Ali Carter has vowed to win his battles on and off the table as he closes in on Crucible glory.

The 32-year-old Essex cueman seized a 5-3 lead after the opening session of his semi-final against Stephen Maguire.

Carter, despite suffering a mid-tournament setback in his struggle against Crohn's disease, is determined it will not hold him back over the next four days.

Eating a steak this week left Carter, a slender, otherwise well man, feeling uncomfortably bloated, a symptom of the bowel condition he has had to manage since being diagnosed in 2003.

Carter said: “It's a very long match against Stephen but my problems haven't beaten me yet and they're not going to.”

The pair were set to return today for two further eight-frame sessions, before the best-of-33 match concludes tomorrow afternoon.