Ronnie O’Sullivan knows his way around a table – and now the Rocket wants to open a chain of restaurants.
The 46-year-old is still hungry for snooker trophies and is bidding to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven crowns at the Betfred World Championship this year.
After 30 years, world No1 O’Sullivan’s appetite is as keen as ever and he is currently locked in battle with fierce rival John Higgins in a glamour Crucible semi-final.
But with merchandise flying off the shelves in his new shop in the Meadowhall shopping centre, O'Sullivan reckons he also has the recipe for off-table success.
Scot Higgins has already demanded that “there needs to be haggis, neeps and tatties” on the menu for diners from north of the border.
And O’Sullivan said: “I have a feeling the shop is just going to be the start of it. I’ve got a vision of what I want to do.
“That’s probably to have my own Ronnie O’Sullivan sports bars at some point.
“They would have a restaurant in there with some good food, some pool tables and just have a lot of sport on the TV.
“I love my food and I love my sport. You start off little and then once you get into it different sorts of conversations start arising.
"That’s what I’m really excited about - the bigger picture stuff.
“If people want to have a night out then they will have great food, a great night and watch some sport. It will be a place couples and friends can go and have a good time.
“I have a vision, and I know what I want to do.
"The shop has done well, and we could be upscaling that. The T-shirts and the hoodies have gone really well…and I said to them that it had to be good stuff.
“When we first started I was wearing it all the time and I said ‘this is falling off, this ain’t good enough, it has to be proper’. This year it is better.
“I always say we have to make anything good value because people spend their hard-earned money and that’s what I want for them.”
At the Crucible all three of the famous ‘Class of 1992’ that turned pro together 30 years ago - O’Sullivan, Higgins and Mark Williams – made it to the last four.
And the Rocket admits that in terms of both what the trio have won and also the sheer time in the game there are parallels with tennis’s Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
He added: ““You can draw those comparisons, absolutely, in terms of the big titles that we have won, and all the big matches between us.
“They pushed each other along to new heights for years, and so have we. They are the big names in their sport, and it is the longevity as much as anything. We are the snooker version of that.”
In yesterday’s second session of a scheduled four in their semi-final, O'Sullivan and Higgins were again greeted like heroes with a standing ovation from a capacity crowd.
Incredibly it is the first time for 21 years they have met on the single-table set-up that exists from the semi-final stage onwards.
And it is O’Sullivan that takes a 10-6 lead into Saturday’s concluding two sessions – boosting his chances with a big steal in the final frame of the day on a re-spotted black. He earlier made breaks of 73, 99, 91, 55 and 70.
Jimmy White was left red-faced after turning the air blue on Friday at the Crucible. The Whirlwind is a six-time runner-up at the Betfred World Championship – and now works as an expert pundit for broadcasters Eurosport.
White, who turns 60 on Monday, was caught off guard in the studio between frames of the Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins semi-final.
With the score at 5-5 while referee Marcel Eckardt was re-setting the balls in the arena. And White was heard saying on the Eurosport Player coverage of the event: “I can’t work under these ******* conditions.”
White is one of the most popular players in the history of snooker and was dubbed ‘The People’s Champion’ in his heyday.
Eurosport presenter Rachel Casey addressed the incident before the close of the afternoon broadcast - apologising to viewers for any "colourful language" heard.
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