RONNIE O’Sullivan has hinted this year’s World Championship could be the last event of his career despite reaching the semi-finals in style.
The Rocket, who returned to snooker for this year’s Crucible showdown after almost a year’s break, knocked out Stuart Bingham with a brushing 13-4 victory to set up a mouth-watering last four tie with Judd Trump.
But tonight he revealed he has no intentions of returning to the sport after the tournament.
On the eve of what could be the start of one of the best semi-finals in Crucible history, O’Sullivan told the world’s media he had not missed the game while spending time away and only came back for financial gain.
“”I had that year out and I never really missed the game,” he said. “I missed having something to do and I was struggling for money. I have not paid the kids’ school fees for the last two or three months.
“I have had two months preparing for this and I did not really know what was going to happen. I have made a little bit of money but I do not think snooker is for me. This could be my last major event.
“I might play in a few PTCs if I get really bored, but as far as playing top competitive snooker and putting my heart into it goes, I do not think that is what I want to do.
“I think it is about time that I looked for something else. Having had that year out it bought me some time to realise that I did not need snooker. It has been tough for me, I have had a taste of not playing. I have put my life and soul into it and I needed a bit of cash and the only way I know how to do that is through snooker.
“The game is a great buzz but maybe I just do not deal with the pressure. I have worked hard with Dr Steve Peters and he has helped me. I still find it hard and I just do not want to put myself through it now. I have no intentions to come back.”
It needs to be pointed out that this is not the first time O’Sullivan has hinted on packing the game in. But now at the age of 37 and having missed most of the season, the reality is he is coming to the end of a spectacular and eventful career.
And what better way to bow out and be crowned world champion for a fifth time and become only the fourth player to defend their World Championship crown at the Crucible.
Aiming to stop him though is Trump who is just two wins away from his first World Championship title. And O’Sullivan knows he is in a tough contest.
“I am competitive and I hate losing, I will fight to the death and I will give it everything,” he added.
“Judd is a brilliant player. I think he gets a bit of an unfair time. He likes his clothes and his cars and there is nothing wrong with that.
“Every time I go to the club, there he is there at half past ten in the morning, playing for a few hours before coming back in the evening. He plays more than me.
“He has got to try and win as much as he can in the next ten years. The only advice I can give him is enjoy it, because I did not.”