Rocket is ready to fly once more

The Northern Echo: HE’S BACK: Ronnie O’Sullivan during a press conference yesterday to announce his return to the sport HE’S BACK: Ronnie O’Sullivan during a press conference yesterday to announce his return to the sport

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN dramatically called off his snooker sabbatical yesterday, but admitted he may well end up “getting smashed” when he returns to the table to defend his world title in seven weeks’ time.

O’Sullivan won his fourth World Championship in May, but then announced he was taking a break from the sport to deal with personal issues that have dogged him throughout his career.

The 37-year-old made a brief comeback in September at a tournament in Gloucester, but he once again decided to walk away from the sport following a defeat to the unheralded Simon Bedford.

The Essex potter, widely regarded as the best player in the history of the game, vowed not to return before the end of the season, but he went back on that decision yesterday, revealing at a press conference in London that he intended to return to the action for this year’s event at the Crucible.

‘The Rocket’ says he has played snooker on just ten days out of the 302 have passed since he posed with the famous trophy in Sheffield last May. For that reason, he knows he is taking a massive gamble.

‘‘I’m very match rusty. I haven’t played any matches.

I have not been in any intense situations so it’s going to be a tough call to go in there with no match practice behind me,’’ O’Sullivan said.

‘‘I might get smashed in Sheffield. I’m going in to the unknown. It’s a massive challenge.’’ O’Sullivan sought the care of renowned psychologist Dr Steve Peters to help him, but he admits he cannot be sure that his personal problems will affect his play when he returns.

‘‘They (the personal issues) possibly could (affect me),’’ he said.

‘‘That’s the reality of it. I can’t make any guarantees.

All I know is that I have to make a start. I have tried to put everything on hold, get things resolved.”

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