20 August 2008
Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he could never quit snooker while his father remains in prison.
The three-times world champion’s father, also called Ronnie, has been in jail for the last 16 years after being convicted of murder, although he could be eligible for release from next year.
And O’Sullivan, 32, admits the pleasure his performances give his father prevent him from retiring, despite repeated threats to do so.
“I haven’t thought too much about what it would be like to see him there in the arena when I was playing, or winning a title and lifting the trophy,” he told the Daily Express.
“The important thing for me now is to just keep going so that he has something to look forward to.
“He has said to me, ’every time you play it’s like a visit to me’ – so how can I give up when that’s all he has got to look forward to sometimes?
“So when things aren’t going so well and I’m not enjoying it, I have to think what maybe it would do to my dad if I stopped.”
28/04/2005 - 01:26:56
Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed he will take a year off from snooker after losing his Embassy World Championship crown in a 13-11 quarter-final defeat to Peter Ebdon.
The top seed was 8-2 up having played brilliantly in the opening session but then capitulated as his opponent slowed the match to a crawl.
And the ‘Rocket’, who has spoken throughout the Sheffield tournament of “giving it another year or two” before retiring due to being frustrated with his form, feels it is time he took a lengthy break.
“I’ll probably have a year off,” said the 29-year-old from Essex. “I’ve not made a final decision yet but I’m 90% positive that’s what I will do.
“It’s not an irrational decision, it’s something I have been thinking about for a while. It will be good for me to have a break.
“I wouldn’t lose my place in the world’s top 16 but I’m just waiting on a few things from people to see if it’s worth a go next year.
“I’ve not fallen out of love with the game, it’s still my passion. It would break my heart to turn my back on it. But mentally the game is taking its toll on me.”
O’Sullivan denied he had been too perturbed by the tactics Ebdon had employed, even though the title-holder looked completely rattled during the match.
The world number eight was taking anything up to three minutes for each shot and dithered five minutes over a break of 12 – almost as long as O’Sullivan needed to compile his fastest competitive 147.
During frame 17, the first one of the concluding session, O’Sullivan tried to counter Ebdon’s delaying tactics by playing on despite needing 10 snookers.
He asked a member of the audience for the time, then in frame 20 laughed when Ebdon missed a pot and sat slumped in his chair with his hand covering his face, looking half asleep when his opponent was playing.
But it was Ebdon who gained from the histrionics for when O’Sullivan came to the table he was incapable of stringing together a sizeable break, missing pots he would normally have sunk with his eyes closed.
“Peter’s got to do what he’s got to do,” said O’Sullivan. “He has a wife and four kids to feed. I was just very frustrated with my own performance.”
Asked about why he had played on when needing 10 snookers, O’Sullivan replied: “I was just trying to find some rhythm to carry into the next frame.”
And quizzed why he had laughed when Ebdon missed a pot, he said: “Every time either of us missed a pot a certain guy in the crowd was groaning. I found it quite funny in a weird sort of way.”
Ebdon, who now plays youngster Shaun Murphy in the semi-finals, denied he had tried to knock O’Sullivan out of his flow.
He said: “I was under tremendous pressure and I wasn’t deliberately slowing Ronnie down. I didn’t do it intentionally because I have so much respect for Ronnie.
“I put my heart and soul into every match I play and I just hung in there. I can’t believe I won because I didn’t play that well.”