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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

'If I had my time over again, I definitely wouldn't pursue snooker'

Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan discusses his struggle with addiction and his relationship with the sport.

Snooker legend, Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Snooker legend, Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

FIVE-TIME WORLD champion Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he wouldn’t pursue a career in snooker if he had the chance to make the decision again.

O’Sullivan, who suffered a shock upset against amateur James Cahill at this year’s World Championships in April, became the world’s top ranked player for the first time in almost a decade after his performances in the 2018-19 season.

In an extensive interview with Radio 4′s ‘Don’t Tell Me The Score’ podcast, the 43-year-old admitted his own struggles with the sport and how the pursuit of wanting to be the best in the world changed him as a person.

“I went through a lot of denial early on, that I didn’t have an addiction at all,” he said.

Addiction is not just around food; it can be women, relationships, gambling, spending, working too hard – it covers so many different areas.

“I think the western world has become a world of addiction. We live such a hectic fast-paced life, everyone gets on top of each other trying to climb that ladder.

I’ve probably trampled on people – not in a horrible way, but in my pursuit to be the best. If I had my time over again, I definitely wouldn’t choose snooker as a sport to pursue.

“In the early days, playing and competing wasn’t enough. I think I had an unhealthy relationship with snooker.”

2019 Dafabet Masters - Day Eight - Alexandra Palace Ronnie O'Sullivan at the 2019 Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace. Source: Steven Paston

O’Sullivan went on to say that his relationship with snooker and struggles with addiction helped him gain some perspective on life.

“Snooker and winning titles is great but if that’s all that life is, at some point that’s going to go. The better you are at something, the more you enjoy doing it. I’ve had to dig deep and ask whether I’ve got the character, the will, the determination.

When I play snooker, I go into a tunnel vision world and I block out everything and everyone around me. But the people around me are not getting their wants and needs.

“Human relationships are very important – probably more important than anything. We need to interact with people.

“Sometimes I have to draw in a bit, and say ‘maybe I’ve been a bit selfish’, and when I approach that, life gets better again.”

You can listen to the full interview right here.

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