Ronnie O’Sullivan has compared his first match back at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre to being in the Big Brother house despite comfortably securing his place in the second round.
The defending champion began the defence of his title with a straight forward 10-4 victory over Mark Joyce on Saturday night.
O’Sullivan will equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles at the Crucible if he successfully defends the world title he won last year.
At times. especially in the first session, world number 2 O’Sullivan looked unconvincing on the table and handed Joyce many opportunities to score.
But Joyce could not make the most of the chances which came his way before O’Sullivan rallied late on, hitting three centuries on the bounce to close the match in style with a 10-4 victory.
Speaking after booking his place in the second round, O’Sullivan said he felt mentally like he had 60 days on the TV show Big Brother, despite his comfortable win.
He told Eurosport: “It was painful. Just too much thinking – how am I standing, how am I cueing and at the end it was so draining.
“I was sitting in my hotel room in the afternoon and I thought that I had been through 17 days already and it’s just day one. All I had was ‘Day 64 of the Big Brother house’ and it is only day one.
“I was out there and I was like ‘you just got to stop thinking’ because thinking is draining and I managed to do that but whether I can keep doing that is another thing.”
O’Sullivan will face the winner of Anthony McGill and Ricky Walden in the second round.