Snooker: I'll play on – but on my terms, says O'Sullivan


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ronnie O'Sullivan stressed he will now play snooker on his own terms after battling through to the quarter-finals of the BGC Masters here yesterday.

The "Rocket" has clashed with World Snooker, the game's governing body, several times in a turbulent career. And now the Chigwell professional says he will be putting his family first as he picks and chooses what tournaments he plays.

O'Sullivan's son, Ronnie Jnr, and his daughter, Lily Jo, were in a packed crowd that saw their father wrest a 6-4 victory over Ding Junhui, the defending champion, in the prestigious north London invitational event, which offers £150,000 to the winner.

"I still want to play snooker, but it has to be on my terms," said O'Sullivan, who threatened to quit the sport last month. "It can be really lonely staying in a hotel away from your kids, so if I have to qualify for tournaments then that's what I'll have to do.

"I was kind of hoping I wasn't going to play again, but I've been working with Steve Peters and that's really helped me. But for me it's about finding the balance between my home life and being away from my kids, as well as the enjoyment of playing."

The 36-year-old added: "Ronnie Jnr did a walk-on with the MC [Rob Walker] before the main event for the crowd. I was surprised he did, to be honest, because he's normally terrified of things like that.

"But he enjoyed it in the end. He got a taste of what it can be like for me with the crowd cheering. I have just had a great day with them here – my daughter LilyJo was here as well, and they really enjoyed it. However, it's back to school next week for them both.

"I hope he [Ronnie Jnr] doesn't pick up a cue, though. I think I'd rather he played a team sport with a few mates to bounce off. I wouldn't want him going through some of what I have been through – snooker can be a hard sport, being out there on your own."

The four-times Masters champion looked comfortable early on against the Chinese – a man he crushed 10-3 in the 2007 final, reducing him to tears – in going 4-1 up thanks to breaks of 76 and 62. Ding then rallied to level at 4-4 but O'Sullivan raised his game with breaks of 51 and 125 to clinch victory.