Ronnie O'Sullivan has vowed to play until at least the age of 50 and accepts he will never get a break from the snooker spotlight.
The 42-year-old landed his fifth Crucible title in 2013, but his wait for a sixth goes on after he was knocked out in the second round of the Betfred World Championship by Ali Carter in a testy match yesterday.
Their powder keg collision exploded when the players clashed physically and verbally in the 19th frame, O'Sullivan appearing to barge into Carter at one stage and calling him "Mr Angry".
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Ali Carter & THAT nudge in live play: https://t.co/YeoWW2CJzf #WorldSnookerChampionship #snookerworldchampionship #RonnieOSullivan #AliCarter #bbcsnooker #Snooker pic.twitter.com/F7b6GyXsn3— Ickle Misty (@UnlovableT) April 28, 2018
It was the latest in a long line of controversies in O'Sullivan's career which has spanned over 25 years and contained a host of retirement threats.
He is not thinking along those lines presently and instead is plotting more chapters in his storied career.
"I'll keep pitching up, I'll keep playing, and I'll probably be here until I'm 50 so get used to me," he said.
He challenged reporters to show a sense of perspective over his altercation with Carter, highlighting its relative insignificance in the context of world news events such as the Syria crisis.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Ali Carter - the post match interviews on their “physical exchange”. At times almost as tense as the match itself...See the full video here: https://t.co/MFnWQUDJj1 #WorldSnookerChampionship #SnookerWorldChampionship #RonnieOSullivan #AliCarter #Snooker pic.twitter.com/cg1JoottF7— Ickle Misty (@UnlovableT) April 29, 2018
But O'Sullivan knows he remains the sport's big attraction, and added: "The story's going to keep going because until I die, you're going to have to keep writing stuff about that.
"You can't say we've had 25 years of Ronnie, can we just push him aside?
"I'm here to stay. I'd rather be like a John Higgins and go under the radar, but it just isn't possible. I embrace it as much as I can, I try to carry it as well as I can, and that's all you can do."
Carter complained before the match that snooker had become 'The Ronnie O'Sullivan Show', and the 38-year-old had a point.
Ali Carter on "barging" passed Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Betfred World Snooker Championship pic.twitter.com/5DrBrePdIE— Betfred (@Betfred) April 28, 2018
Even O'Sullivan, who will spend the rest of the tournament working on television coverage of the event, did not quibble.
"Every sport has their Tiger Woods, every sport has their Roger Federer. I happen to be the figure in snooker," O'Sullivan said.
"I'm not saying I win as much as them or have all the records but I didn't ask for that situation.
"I try to carry that as best as I can, but if other people have a problem with that then they have to deal with that themselves."