RONNIE O’Sullivan is coming back to defend his World Championship title after admitting he suffered from boredom during his time away from the sport.
After more than five months since his last competitive match, Rocket Ronnie will make a spectacular comeback on the opening day of the World Championship in April – aiming to keep hold of the trophy he won for a fourth time last year.
The decision is somewhat of a u-turn on his original announcement in November when he ruled himself out of the remainder of the season so he could tackle personal issues in his life.
But snooker’s biggest star, who many in the game say is the most naturally gifted the player the sport has ever seen, said it was time to come back to do what he does best – play snooker.
O’Sullivan told the media at a press conference in London: ” I needed a rest and I thought it was time to get back to what I have done for a lot of my life. I got a bit bored.
“Three or four months ago I was sitting thinking that I would rather be losing 10-0 in Sheffield to be back playing, rather than going for lunch, dinner and chilling out.
“I had to get back to playing, winning or losing, and it shows how big a part of my life snooker is.
“I certainly feel refreshed. I was never out of juice. I don’t find snooker hard mentally or physically.”
As defending champion O’Sullivan will go into the tournament as the top seed and will play in the opening match against a qualifier on Saturday, April 20. O’Sullivan still has to formally confirm his participation in the tournament to World Snooker which he must do by Thursday.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn was delighted with O’Sullivan’s announcement and said his return was fantastic news for the game.
“There are many great players contesting the big titles. But Ronnie remains a fans’ favourite and we welcome him back,” he said.
“The atmosphere when he steps into the Crucible arena on the first morning of the Championship will be electric. Anyone who hasn’t got tickets booked for the tournament should do so immediately because it’s building up to be the best ever.”
Players have also reacted with delight to O’Sullivan’s return. Former world champion Neil Robertson tweeted: “Great to see Ronnie back to defend his world title, would have been weird not to have the defending champion there.”
Michael Holt who will be aiming to qualify for the event also tweeted: “ROS return is obviously great for snooker.”