Snooker: O'Sullivan: I can play until I'm 45

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Ronnie O'Sullivan has left the threats to quit behind for now – and insists that he will play snooker for another 10 years, even targeting a world title in his 40s.

The 35-year-old from Essex, three times a world championship winner, has always endured a love-hate relationship with the sport. His form deserted him completely last season and his ranking plummeted to threaten his elite top-16 place.

O'Sullivan spent yesterday enthusiastically judging the winner of Rileys clubs' "Future Stars" competition in London – eventually awarding a £5,000 cheque to Welsh teenager Jamie Clarke.

And afterwards O'Sullivan, who played superbly to win a recent Players Tour Championship event, was in bullish mood, promising to silence the doubters.

O'Sullivan said: "If I am 20, 30 or 40 in the world, I'd still back myself to win a big tournament. Don't get me wrong, there are good players out there, class players who I respect – but no one to be scared of.

"I can play until I am 45. I would like to be the first man in their 40s to win a world title since Ray Reardon, who helped me to win a world title.

"I have set that as one of my goals, no one has done that for 33 years. But in a way I would love to be a qualifier at the Crucible, and come through the field."