Rocket Ronnie Launches Himself Into The Betfred World Championship Last 16

O'Sullivan beat David Gilbert 10-5 at the Crucible
21:00, 17 Apr 2022

Ronnie O’Sullivan dipped into his snooker toolbox to make yet more Crucible history on Easter Sunday.

The Rocket powered into the last 16 of the Betfred World Championship with a 10-5 win over David Gilbert in Sheffield. 

And the 46-year-old O’Sullivan, back at world No1 for the fifth time in his 30-year career, equalled two major records. 

The six-time winner’s total of 30 appearances at the sport’s spiritual home matches the tally of legend Steve Davis. And a 70th career win at the venue saw him draw level with Stephen Hendry. 

Almost the only record still to elude this season’s World Grand Prix winner O’Sullivan is Hendry’s seven world titles - which he could yet equal this year. 

But the game’s box office star may face disciplinary action after making a lewd gesture caught on camera in the 13th frame – left furious about missing a black off the spot. 

O’Sullivan hit back after trailing 3-0 at one stage, with breaks of  122, 64, 104, 66, 54, 58, 109 and 81. 

He said: “I am not too bothered about the records, I have enough. Stephen Hendry was a hero of mine so if I equal his seven world titles great, if not part of me will be happy if he keeps it. 

“I have gathered this tool box over the years and I was pulling out spanners, hammers, little Allen keys more mentally than technically. When you’re a grandad like me you draw on your experiences. 

“I have been on great form for six years, and I’d like to thank World Snooker for making my life hell so I actually went and got my life in  a great place, where I play for fun. 

“I think I can play on for a lot longer now than I thought I could, I’ll keep hanging around and be a hindrance like maybe Tiger Woods and be a pain to play against.

“It’s like Gladiator out there. It’s like Russell Crowe…he’s got a hole in his arm, he knows he’s going to die but you just have to find a way sometimes.

“He found a way, you find a way. That’s what winners and gladiators do. I don’t know what it is, but that’s what I was born to do maybe. 

“I just drew on all my skills and experience, everything that I have learned. I probably should have been an F1 driver or a boxer, maybe I am temperamentally more suited to those.

“I have to really work at that side of it in snooker, to be like a robot. A lot of the great players over the years have been like machines – but I am not a machine.

“I find snooker challenging…very, very challenging – but it teaches you about yourself and that has helped me. You become a problem-solver, and have to armour yourself up sometimes.

“Sometimes that gets you through, sometimes it don’t. I am quite an emotional character and that is probably not good for a snooker player and so I have to work on that.

“It was a nice buzz out there today, but it’s a buzz every day for me – there are all different types of buzzes.

“I don’t analyse it too much, other people can write about it or talk about it. I am just happy to be in the next round as I try to squeeze as much juice out of this game as I can.

“If you talk to anyone that has been very, very successful at what they do, they will tell you it wasn’t easy.

“To be the best – and I’m not saying I am the best, but I’m one of the best – ask any sportsperson or businessperson, it takes graft and determination and effort.

“Some days it is like ‘Why am I doing it’, but you do it anyway. I am not too bothered about being back at No1 again. When I was younger I was more bothered about rankings.

“If I haven’t been No1 for most of the last 10 years one reason is because I wasn’t playing as much as everyone else – and now I am.

“But even when the China events are back I won’t be flying around like a busy fool chasing ranking points. I love my life, health and sanity too much.

“So once the calendar goes bananas again, I will probably drop down the rankings again.”

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