RONNIE O’SULLIVAN says he now considers billiards a “holiday” – and thinks he will retire at 50.
But Rocket, 45, intends to keep himself so healthy into old age that he can still hit the ball at 90!
The six-time world title winner is gearing up for Great Britain Championship – started today in York – tournament in which he has set a record seven times.
Although he won his most recent world crown in August 2020, O’Sullivan’s desk time is dwindling as he indulges in other pleasures.
He is having ongoing TV coverage with Eurosport, various sponsorship and commercial deals, corporate gigs and exhibitions, plus a newly opened snooker academy in Singapore.
O’Sullivan, who turns 46 in the UK final on December 5, told SunSport: “I’ve been out of action for a long time.
“First I saw myself as an expert. I have my own property company. I do a lot of work as an ambassador as well as the face of companies. I consider it my main job now.
“I don’t really see myself as a snooker anymore. It backfires in many ways. Financially and temporally, it doesn’t make sense. But I still want it in my life, if only for fun.
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“If I had to choose between playing snooker and becoming a pundit or a TV personality or participating in exhibitions, snooker would be the first thing to do.
“I’ve got myself three more world championships – I’ve set my sights on accomplishing that.
“It can make me play a little longer than I would like. It’s been a psychological trick for me in many ways.
“Snooker is a platform, something I enjoy, have fun with. I refuse to take it seriously.
“There is no vacation that can compare to it. I get to stay in nice hotels, I play snooker and, if that doesn’t go well, I’ll go to Eurosport and watch snooker and spend time with Jimmy White.
“As long as there is a snooker tournament and a snooker table, I can go on vacation, treat it as a day off. All is well for me.”
O’Sullivan faces Welshman Michael White in the first round tomorrow as the crowd heads back to the Barbican after last year’s game closed. The Essex potter denies claims he has lost his mojo, despite losing all five ranked finals he has reached this season.
But he admits his training regimens such as long-distance running, yoga and Pilates can have some effect on how focused he is at the table.
O’Sullivan said: “I can play snooker until I’m 90! I can’t do that for a job.
“In terms of running, you have more chances of catching me in the jungle and less of a chance on the street.
“Exercise, health, happiness, eating right… you get a body so use it as efficiently as possible.
“In some ways when I’m running and working out, it’s negative for my billiards because I’m a bit tired holding my badge!”
UK championships LIVE on discover+ and the Eurosport app from today.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4122981/ronnie-osullivan-snooker-retirement-uk-championship/ ‘I’m not a snooker anymore’