Ronnie O’Sullivan (Photo: VCG via Getty Images)
Ronnie O’Sullivan wants to play snooker until he is sixty, inspired by comedy icon Ken Dodd, and sees no reason why he cannot play at a very high level before he is fifty.
On Tuesday, Rocket was in top form as he beat Robbie Williams 4-0 at Celtic Manor to advance to the second round of the Welsh Open.
The world champion is looking for his fifth title and as always he is one of the favourites to receive the trophy on Sunday night.
The 45-year-old player stresses that winning tournaments doesn’t matter much to him these days, but that he wants and needs to keep fighting to stay on the exhibition circuit, which is his main passion for snooker.
O’Sullivan faces Jimmy White in the second round in Wales on Wednesday, and he sees no reason why he can’t keep playing well as he approaches the 58-year-old whirlwind.
I particularly want to emulate Ken Dodd, he turned until he died, O’Sullivan told Metro.co.uk.
For me, it’s a game of exhibit and storytelling, and as long as I stay healthy and fit, I try to do 30 or 40 nights a year. I loved it, me and my friend on the road, it was like a road trip, we had so much fun.
I play enough snooker to be strong enough for the shows, which is great. I can keep my journal much better, I like to be secure in what I do, to have control over what I do.
The 55 should be minimum, really, [Steve] Davies was still playing good snooker at 55. If I’m still in shape and playing snooker, why not have exhibitions until I’m 65? If you always play well, if people like it, if you always do good things on the table, it would be good for me.
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The reigning world champion is still hoping for his first win in a tournament this season since his stunning triumph at Le Creuset in August, while Judd Trump is in the running for the title.
The world number one has already won four titles this season and noted that he would rather win multiple events during the season than just the world title.
Rocket disagrees, arguing that the game’s major titles – the World Championship, Masters and British Championship – are the only credible judges of a player.
O’Sullivan compared victories in many other competitions to the golf career of Colin Montgomery, while Tiger Woods won the top prizes.
It’s very hard to say how many tournaments they play, Ronnie said, preceded by Judd’s comments.
The only real benchmarks you can compare and they never change are the World Championships, the Masters and the UK. I think the same goes for golf and tennis.
Judd Trump at the World Cup
I know that winning the world championship is an incredible achievement, but I’d rather win five or six events a year than win this one world championship.
I’d rather have the regularity of 50 weeks a year of playing well and two weeks of playing poorly at Worlds than a few weeks of playing well and 50 weeks of playing poorly.
I’m certainly happier playing well week after week than winning a single game. Of course it would be nice to win them all, but the Worlds are just one event, for me it’s like any other tournament.
The only difference is that outsiders say the World Cups are special because the players in each tournament are of equal importance.
Everyone knows that these are the big tournaments where the big players get their best results. This is the only consistent way to judge how someone has done it, but everyone has a different approach to how they want to do it.
My approach is to win less tournaments, place less and just have fun. Other players like Colin Montgomery, he dominated the European circuit for many seasons but couldn’t win the majors because Tiger Woods was there and it was hard to stop him.
There is no right or wrong way, just what you like.
Sullivan had his first chance to lift the Ray Reardon Trophy on Sunday, an award named after his former mentor since the Rocket’s last victory.
The world champion says his bond with Reardon goes far beyond the trophy, that he makes a difference and that they have a close relationship to this day.
The relationship I have with Ray is far more important than the trophy. It would be great to have Ray here to present the trophy, of course it would be a special moment, he said.
O’Sullivan thinks Reardon is learning how to be a winner (Photo: Getty)
It’s always fun to play in a tournament. The relationship I had with Ray and the time we spent together is what I will remember most.
We still speak on the phone, not as often as we used to, but I still keep an eye on him from time to time. I’m sure he’s watching us today, so I’ll get a note from him telling me I’m an asshole and that I can improve in certain areas.
After skipping the German Masters and the Shoot Out, this is the first event of the year for Rocket. Since then, he has spent Christmas working for a homeless charity.
It’s something Rocket does every year and he really appreciates it.
I haven’t done much since then because I don’t have much time, but Christmas is my chance to do something for the homeless.
When I play and travel a little less, I do more, I’m always involved in certain projects.
I do this every Christmas, I go and feed the homeless, I like to give something back, see people who are unhappy, who don’t have a lot of positive things, being with them is really nice.
I don’t think they watch much snooker, but as long as you can make them smile, it’s good.
O’Sullivan will take on White in the second round of the Welsh Open on Wednesday.
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