The five-time world champion describes himself as “semi-retired” in the case of the game today, regardless of a transparent want from followers for him to hold on. Known for his unpredictable temperament and audacious views, the Rocket has come underneath fireplace from snooker’s governing physique for his actions over the previous. Despite this, the 44-year-old has been trustworthy about his relationship with the game, admitting beforehand that he “regrets ever playing snooker” including “I’d probably have been happier doing something outside with an adrenalin buzz”.
He has battled all his life with dependancy, one thing that threatened to derail his profession many moons in the past, however he turned his life round channelling that into one thing good – working and consuming healthily.
But there was one time the potting maestro even thought of skipping a match to stretch his legs.
During the quarter-finals of the Northern Ireland Trophy in 2007, O’Sullivan’s thoughts was on a cross-country race.
He advised INTERSPORT Running: “I’d just beat Ali Carter, had five centuries and one of them was a 147.
“I remember we had the Met League, it might have been one of our home races, I’m not sure, but wherever it was I was going to go.
“I was thinking ‘that’s on Saturday and if I win my next match it means I’ll not be able to race.’
“It was really doing my head in. Even though I was training with the local running club in Ireland, it was fantastic, but there was no feeling like racing.”
O’Sullivan went on to element how the saga unravelled.
He added in May: “I told the guy this and he said there was an Irish cross country race going on and I could run in that.
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“All the leagues seemed to run at the same time, the same weekend.
“I went and bought myself a pair of spikes and quickly learned that if I couldn’t do a race that was local to me, I could just go and run races if I was in Wales, Scotland or Ireland.
“There was a point where I was starting to think ‘maybe I’ll just lose this match and get home and do the race that I wanted to do.’”
O’Sullivan did lose his subsequent match, an upset defeat to Irishman Fergal O’Brien, though there may be definitely no suggestion he acted on his ideas and gave up on the sport.
O’Sullivan has spoken overtly about this stage of his profession earlier than, telling The Way of the Runner podcast: “I was thinking, ‘try and lose,’ and I did a couple of times, not deliberately, but I just went for one too many shots thinking, ‘I don’t actually care’.
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“Then it was actually starting to get in the way of my snooker, which is not great, really.
“Knowing how obsessive I am, running became more important than snooker, because I valued it so much.”
O’Sullivan doesn’t run competitively any extra, placing that distraction from his snooker profession behind him as he appears to be like to bag his sixth World Championship title this summer time.
O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui meet within the second spherical tonight, the third time they are going to have performed on the Crucible, with every man profitable certainly one of their earlier encounters.
Ding left Sheffield victorious within the 2017 quarter-finals, however he has by no means gone on to raise the trophy.