Rocket wins and drops title defence hint

Ronnie O’Sullivan hinted he has not ruled out defending his fifth Betfair World Championship title after defeating Barry Hawkins in the final at the Crucible last night.

O’Sullivan capped his comeback from almost a year out by winning snooker’s biggest prize for a fifth time.

The 37-year-old rolled up in Sheffield without any competitive match practice and proceeded to tear through the draw, culminating in an 18-12 triumph against surprise finalist Hawkins.

O’Sullivan, who earlier in the tournament claimed he had returned to pay school fees and would not come back to Sheffield next year, then suggested the door could be still open for another title defence.

“My main motive wasn’t to come here and win it. I was kind of bored, sitting on the sidelines with nothing going on and I thought, ‘I can do it’. It’s been great just to get something back in my life.”

Asked whether he would be back at the Crucible next year, he replied: “I’ve had a great time and I enjoyed every moment. I love playing and I’m definitely going to be playing in some smaller events, as to me that’s just pure snooker.

“Here, there is a lot going on and it’s hard, but I just love playing so I will definitely be playing in some smaller events and we will just see what goes on.”

O’Sullivan hailed the influence of psychologist Steve Peters, who helped him to get in the right frame of mind to resume his career.

“He (Peters) has been with me all the way,” O’Sullivan said.

“I don’t think I would have won back-to-back titles without him.”

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