O'Sullivan cannot equal Hendry

RONNIE O'SULLIVAN: MY FAMILY TORMENT

Snooker legend longs to be reunited with girlfriend, kids and dad

By CLIFF HAYES, 06/12/2008

'I AM quite a boring person.’
Not a phrase you would normally expect Ronnie O’Sullivan to utter.
Especially when he’s dressed in a shocking fluorescent pink shirt and in the middle of his most emotional interview ever.
The Rocket is talking openly about his battle against drink and drugs, his break-up with his long-time partner, his father’s 18-year prison sentence for murder, his crack at becoming a Buddhist and the demons that forced him to walk out on snooker.
Boring? No way. Snooker’s most naturally-gifted player has never lost the ability to dazzle on the table. This time he’s dazzling in a chair . . .

• How he longs to patch up his broken relationship with Jo Langley, the mother of their two children, Lily and Ronnie Jnr.
• How he can’t wait for his father Ronald’s release from jail in 2010.
• How he gave up on becoming a Buddhist because he was “kidnapped” at a religious meeting in Bethnal Green.
• How he has kicked his drink and drugs addiction following visits to The Priory and Alcoholics Anonymous.
But, worryingly, the 33-year-old triple-world champion confesses he hasn’t yet regained his passion for the sport.
• How he hasn’t the determination to emulate Stephen Hendry’s record seven world titles.
• And how he may pull out of future tournaments if he doesn’t feel in the right frame of mind.

“I haven’t got the drive to win seven or eight world titles,” he said. “I haven’t got the passion it takes to be a Schumacher, a Hendry, a Phil Taylor.
“You look at the hard facts of what I’ve won and I have definitely under-achieved.
“But I’m not going to be a slave to snooker. I don’t think I’ll be playing in five years, let alone winning another five world titles.
“I’ll leave a little legacy. I’ve done it my way, a waste of talent it might have been, but I’ve come out of it and I’m intact. I don’t want to be miserable when I’m 45 and think: ‘Well, what was that all about?’ It’s now that is important.”
It was two years ago that snooker chiefs slapped O’Sullivan with a £20,000 fine after he walked out in the middle of a 19-frame match against Hendry when trailing 4-1.
O’Sullivan admits he had contemplated doing it in previous matches against Steve Davis and Jimmy White and that there are times when he feels like doing the same thing AGAIN.
“I was 3-0 up against Davis in the semi-finals of the Premier League, missed a ball and went to shake his hand,” Ronnie recalls in an interview to be screened on BBC’s Inside Sport programme tomorrow night.
“As I walked towards him I thought: ‘What am I doing? You can’t do that’ and I walked back to my chair. The next day I’m leading Jimmy 4-0 in the final, missed a ball and went to do the same thing. And it got to the point against Stephen when I’m sitting there thinking: ‘I don’t want to be here.’
“And I just missed the ball, shook his hand and went: ‘Right, I’m off.’ I got out and felt relieved I’d done it.
“It’s been horrible to have to get a perspective on something I used to have so much passion for.

Drugs

“I still feel like it sometimes, but I can’t do it again, because snooker bosses will slap me with a heavy fine. So if I feel like that again, I will have to pull out of tournaments.
“Snooker is a very hard game when you’re sitting in your chair with your mind.
“You’ve got to be a gentleman and be: Oh, yeah, foul, four and a miss and he’ll play another 10 attempts . . . and do people really want to watch it? Come on!”
O’Sullivan has been living on his own for the past 10 months after splitting from Jo and admitting himself to The Priory for treatment on his drink and drugs problems. But he is trying to piece his life back.
“Jo and I are trying to work back together. That’s my aim,” he said. “It would be fantastic if we could live together and bring up our family together. I’m probably a difficult person to be with, yeah.
“It’s difficult for a wife to be married to a sportsman who’s trying to stay at the top of their game. You can’t just wake up when you like. You can’t just eat four cream cakes, you’ve got to be professional, you’ve got to be ruthless.

Kidnapped

“And sometimes your partner doesn’t get to see you as much. I went to The Priory and learnt about addictions. I had a problem but I don’t drink and don’t take drugs anymore. I had my struggles and I got help. I’ve gone to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and I got support.
“I’m not a religious person. I looked into Buddhism because I wanted some sort of happiness.
“I joined a Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green. I used to have my lunch and listen to the geezer do his thing and it was great.
“I did it for six weeks but what ruined it for me was someone kidnapped me, hijacked me and kept saying ‘Come and do it with me’ and that’s what put me off.
“I was just coming to chill out and then I’ve got them in my face trying to be a control freak . . .‘Come, meet my wife’ and it put me off going there.”
But there is one place O’Sullivan is looking forward to going to . . . jail. His dad is due to be released from prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent in 2010 after serving 18 years for murder.
But it’s a reunion O’Sullivan is worried about.

Mentality

“I must admit I am nervous thinking about it,” he said. “How is it going to be? Because my last memory of dad was when he was out on bail, driving me to a snooker tournament when I was 15.
“I didn’t know whether he was going to go away or not, so it’s as if 18 years have gone. I have no memories other than a telephone conversation and a visit every two months, so you can’t make up for that.
“It’s going to be a different relationship now. I’m 33, I’ve got two kids and I’ve had my career.
“But he’s done a good job with me, getting me to think in a certain way. He’s the most positive guy. That’s why I go for shots people think may be risky, but I believe they’re winners.
“It goes in, game over and I’ve always had that mentality.
“He loves snooker. And every time he sees me play on TV he’ll say it’s like a visit from me. He’s been such a proud man.
“He doesn’t want anything from me other than just, I’m his son.”

He might have something to say about the pink shirt, though . . . .

WHAT RONNIE TOLD GABBY...

http://snookerscene.blogspot.com
Dave H
7 December 2008

Ronnie O'Sullivan is interviewed by Gabby Logan on Inside Sport to be shown on BBC1 tomorrow at 11.05pm.

As they say on the news when giving out football scores, if you don't want to know the results then look away now...

ON HIS BREAK UP WITH GIRLFRIEND JO:
"Jo and I are trying to work back together. That’s my aim. It would be fantastic if we could live together and bring up our family together. I’m probably a difficult person to be with, yeah.

“It’s difficult for a wife to be married to a sportsman who’s trying to stay at the top of their game. You can’t just wake up when you like. You can’t just eat four cream cakes, you’ve got to be professional, you’ve got to be ruthless.

"And sometimes your partner doesn’t get to see you as much. I went to The Priory and learnt about addictions. I had a problem but I don’t drink and don’t take drugs anymore. I had my struggles and I got help. I’ve gone to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and I got support."

ON RELIGION:
"I’m not a religious person. I looked into Buddhism because I wanted some sort of happiness.

“I joined a Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green. I used to have my lunch and listen to the geezer do his thing and it was great.

“I did it for six weeks but what ruined it for me was someone kidnapped me, hijacked me and kept saying ‘Come and do it with me’ and that’s what put me off.

“I was just coming to chill out and then I’ve got them in my face trying to be a control freak , ‘come, meet my wife’ and it put me off going there.”

ON WALKING OUT AGAINST HENDRY:
"I was 3-0 up against Davis in the semi-finals of the Premier League, missed a ball and went to shake his hand.

“As I walked towards him I thought: ‘What am I doing? You can’t do that’ and I walked back to my chair.

"The next day I’m leading Jimmy 4-0 in the final, missed a ball and went to do the same thing. And it got to the point against Stephen when I’m sitting there thinking: ‘I don’t want to be here.’

“And I just missed the ball, shook his hand and went: ‘Right, I’m off.’ I got out and felt relieved I’d done it.

“It’s been horrible to have to get a perspective on something I used to have so much passion for.

"I still feel like it sometimes, but I can’t do it again, because snooker bosses will slap me with a heavy fine. So if I feel like that again, I will have to pull out of tournaments.

“Snooker is a very hard game when you’re sitting in your chair with your mind."

ON HIS FATHER'S UPCOMING RELEASE:
"I must admit I am nervous thinking about it. How is it going to be? Because my last memory of dad was when he was out on bail, driving me to a snooker tournament when I was 15.

“I didn’t know whether he was going to go away or not, so it’s as if 18 years have gone. I have no memories other than a telephone conversation and a visit every two months, so you can’t make up for that.

“It’s going to be a different relationship now. I’m 33, I’ve got two kids and I’ve had my career but he’s done a good job with me, getting me to think in a certain way.

"He’s the most positive guy. That’s why I go for shots people think may be risky, but I believe they’re winners.

“It goes in, game over and I’ve always had that mentality.

“He loves snooker. And every time he sees me play on TV he’ll say it’s like a visit from me. He’s been such a proud man.

“He doesn’t want anything from me other than just, I’m his son.”

ON WHY HE'S NOT ANOTHER HENDRY:
"I haven’t got the drive to win seven or eight world titles. I haven’t got the passion it takes to be a (Michael Schumacher), a Hendry, a Phil Taylor.

"You look at the hard facts of what I’ve won and I have definitely under-achieved.

“But I’m not going to be a slave to snooker. I don’t think I’ll be playing in five years, let alone winning another five world titles.

“I’ll leave a little legacy. I’ve done it my way, a waste of talent it might have been, but I’ve come out of it and I’m intact.

"I don’t want to be miserable when I’m 45 and think: ‘Well, what was that all about?’ It’s now that is important.”

Inside Sport is on BBC1 on Monday night at 11:05pm.

Link to the interview

bbc.co.uk
7 December 2008

Ronnie O'Sullivan says he "lacks the passion" for snooker to go on and equal Stephen Hendry's seven world titles.

O'Sullivan is the reigning world champion, an honour he has earned three times, but he told Inside Sport: "I can't win seven, eight world titles.

"I don't feel like I've got the drive. I don't have the passion that it takes to be a (Michael) Schumacher, a Hendry - I am not going to be a slave to it."

O'Sullivan added he expected to retire from snooker in the next five years.

"I don't think I'll even be playing in five years, let alone winning another five world titles," he said.

O'Sullivan, who turned 33 on Friday, is one of the most talented and controversial snooker players in the history of the game - but believes he should have been more successful.

"You look at the hard facts of what I've won, as a competitor - I believe that I have definitely underachieved," he said.

"I've done it my way if you like, it wasn't the conventional way, waste of a talent it might have been, but I've come out of it and I'm intact.

"I don't want to be a miserable man when I'm 45 and think, well, what was it all about? It's here and now that's important."

O'Sullivan told BBC Sport his infamous forfeited match against Stephen Hendry, in December 2006, had forced him to examine his relationship with the sport.

Hendry was awarded the match 9-1 when O'Sullivan, having missed a red at 4-1 down, shook his opponent's hand and walked out of the York venue.

"It just got to the point with Stephen Hendry when I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, I don't want to be here playing. I just want to be out of here.

"I missed the ball, shook his hand and went, 'right, I'm off'. And that was it. And I got out - and I felt relieved. I felt relieved that I'd done it. To just get it out of there.

"Because if I'd gone through that match I would have been like it in the semis, like it in the final... I'd have been like it in the World final. It didn't matter where it was."

O'Sullivan added the demons of that day's walkout had never fully receded.

"I had to get a perspective on it. And it's been horrible to have to get a perspective on something that I used to love.

"It's like, why do I have to come to terms with getting a perspective on something I had so much passion for?

"I still feel like it sometimes, but I can't, because they'll slap me with a heavy fine - so obviously if I know I feel like that, I will have to pull out of tournaments."

See the full interview with Ronnie O'Sullivan on Inside Sport, Monday 8 December, BBC One at 2305.

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