Tuesday 15 October 2019

O'Sullivan admits: 'I'm already semi-retired'

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan

Freddie Keighley

Ronnie O'Sullivan has said he already considers himself semi-retired ahead of his first hurdle in a quest for a sixth World Championship title this afternoon.

The 43-year-old is the bookmakers' favourite after regaining top spot in the rankings following a string of impressive tournament victories.

Speaking ahead of his first-round meeting with amateur James Cahill, O'Sullivan said: "I feel like I have kind of been retired for the past 10 years.

"I play and I enjoy, but I have never set out to break records. I just play the game because it fills my day up and I do it on my own terms. My life would probably be a lot duller without it."

Grind

Asked whether he admired Mark Williams for winning the World Championship and then spending much of the season away from the circuit, O'Sullivan - who has frequently expressed his disenchantment with the daily grind of being a professional - said: "You have to live life on your own terms.

"All the importance that people put on certain things, I do not put so much importance on.

"If you do not enjoy your life, give you 30 world titles and it is not going to mean much."

As such, his historic season, in which he scored his thousandth century break, is of little consequence now.

"If you asked me 'how has your year been?', I would say that it has been absolutely fantastic, not because of the titles, but because it has been a really good year.

"Maybe when I am 60 and in the Crucible they introduce me as five-time champion, it is those moments you go, 'that is nice'.

"As a player, you do not start giving yourself a pat on the back."

Lifestyle changes have been an important factor in a season in which O'Sullivan claimed a record seventh UK Championship title.

"My past two years have been focused on changing the way I eat," he said.

"I think a lot of the success comes down to eating better and feeling better. I have more energy and you get maybe five or six per cent more out of yourself."

Last night Gary Wilson came through a tense first round encounter by winning the longest frame in Crucible history at 79 minutes 31 seconds to edge out Luca Brecel 10-9. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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