Ronnie O'Sullivan Claims He Could Have Won Ten World Titles Ahead Of Championship

The 45-year-old spoke candidly to Betfred ahead of the tournament
20:30, 16 Apr 2021

Six-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he could have won 10 titles and revealed he has a somewhat ‘love/hate’ relationship with snooker.

Speaking candidly to Betfred Sport ahead of this week’s World Snooker Championship where he will be competing to defend his crown, the 45-year-old claimed he ‘wasted’ a decade of career and should have claimed more success.

“My game’s never great to be honest with you,” he told Betfred in the build-up. “I'm never satisfied but I suppose that's just the nature of the beast sometimes, you’re always looking to squeeze a bit more out but in general it’s been an ok season. I’ve enjoyed it and done it on my terms so it’s felt good.

“When I look back, I think I could have probably won ten (titles) if I had found a little bit of consistency or hadn't wasted seven, eight, nine, ten years of my career but nothing is ever plain sailing. Sometimes I was happy to get one at one point so to get six, I’m pretty comfortable with that achievement.

“I might not win it this year, could possibly win it the year after but as long as I’m enjoying playing you’ve always got a chance I suppose. It’s a tournament at the end of the day, you’ve just got to try and get it right over this little period.”

Twenty years on from his first triumph in 2001, a victory at the Crucible this time around would see him match record winner Stephen Hendry with seven wins.

Asked if Hendry’s tally is something he is targeting, he insisted, “No, it’s not driven by that at all, really. I come here, it gets me out the house, I enjoy travelling, the lifestyle, playing. If I lose the first round and I’m playing well, I’ll be disappointed. If I lose the first round and I’m not playing so well, I’ll be thinking ‘sweet touch’ because it’s a long time to struggle at this tournament. 

“If things go well, it’s fantastic. If they don’t, I’m not the kind of player to want to grind out any event. As the tournament progresses, I sort of get a feeling for what will happen and try and judge it as well as you can.”

Another victory would put The Rocket in the record books but ahead of the championship, he is clearly in relaxed mood and insists he is more concerned with playing well and enjoying the game as opposed to obsessing over titles.

“I've always said that as long as my lifestyle’s great I don't mind doing anything - if someone said you’ve got to paint walls for a living, as long as the life’s good, I’ll do it but if the lifestyle’s not great, it doesn’t matter how much I love something, I’m not going to want to do it.”

Speaking of being a champion, he revealed he doesn’t get too excited by his success and admitted, “I wish it meant more to me in many ways. I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it and sometimes just playing is an achievement in itself. 

“It’s not an easy sport, snooker, and sometimes you go through a lot of highs and a lot of lows and in the end you just go ‘I don’t want any more highs’ but then you can’t have the lows. You kind of neutral out and (you think) you know what, I’ll just stay in the middle which is a little bit easier to live with in many ways.”

O’Sullivan will begin this year’s tournament against debutant Mark Joyce on Saturday morning.

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