COMEBACK star Ronnie O’Sullivan has described his return to the sport as ‘the icing on the cake’ following his first round victory on the opening day of the World Championship.
The Rocket booked his place in the second round after comfortably beating Scotland’s Marcus Campbell 10-4.
Next up for the defending champion will be a meeting with Ben Woollaston or he could face a repeat of last year’s final against Ali Carter next weekend.
Speaking in his post-match press conference O’Sullivan said he was happy to be back on snooker’s biggest stage.
“It was nice to be back,” he said. “The journey has been exciting ever since I announced that I was coming back and playing.
“It gave me something to do. I have spent the last five weeks preparing so the journey has been enjoyable, it is like the icing on the cake playing in an event like this.
“I hit the balls okay. In general my play was not as slick and sharp as what I would have liked. That is all to have been expected when you have not played for a year. You lose that tightness, you need to get in there and compete.
“I was not sure how the match was going to pan out and how I was going to compete. I came here just as an experiment in some ways, I did not know what to expect so it is quite interesting.
“In a way it is like trying to get fit for a marathon the day before it starts. Trying to get match fit during a tournament might not happen. It could take one, two or three tournaments, a couple of beatings. You kind of need that to toughen you up mentally.”
Reflecting on his first round exit, Campbell said he was proud of his performance despite suffering defeat.
Campbell said: “I thought I was a little bit unlucky. Ronnie scores very heavily and I did not make too many mistakes earlier on in the day. I thought the early score was unjustified really, but I was happy with how I had been playing and the way I conducted myself. That is the best I have felt and I really enjoyed it.
“I came into the match with a lot of confidence and in past years you have had maybe six or eight weeks to prepare whereas this year I have probably only waited four or five days and I have come straight into it.
“I have had a decent season so I am happy.”