Snooker: 'Outside' problems take toll on O'Sullivan

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The Independent Online

A confused Ronnie O'Sullivan may not return to the table in the New Year even if he goes on to win the UK Championship.

O'Sullivan produced an awesome potting display to beat the Scotsman Alan McManus 9-5 in York last night, a victory that included five centuries. The former world champion now meets the Australian Quinten Hann for a place in the semi-finals.

However, O'Sullivan claimed he is considering his future as he struggles to come to terms with the demons in his life.

"I was sat in the bath today crying my eyes out for 20 minutes because there is stuff I can't deal with," the 27-year-old from Essex said. "I will see how things go after this tournament. It may be good for me to take some time out.

"I've not fallen out with snooker but there are other things I can't handle and it's crippling me. It may be I go to the governing body and see if they can do some sort of deal because I wouldn't want to go back to qualifying.

"If the board are not willing to make a deal then it's a bigger decision I've got to make. I don't know how much longer I can go on like this."

O'Sullivan's decision to consider his future is nothing new. He became UK champion for the first at the age of 17, and 12 months later, after losing his grip on the trophy, threatened to hang up his cue.

Life was less traumatic then but the subsequent jailing of his father, Ronnie, for murder has taken O'Sullivan to the brink of depression many times.