Ronnie O’Sullivan’s avowed intention to “raise the bar” may drive his snooker rivals to drink.
After capturing the first ranking title of the new season in Preston last night O’Sullivan believes he can set new standards of excellence on the green baize.
The Rocket did not always produce his A-game during a 9-5 victory over Ian McCulloch in the Totesport Grand Prix.
However, his B-game was still too powerful for the local favourite who consoled himself with a £30,000 (€43,300) runner-up cheque and a career-best provisional ranking of 13th.
“The balls were not going where I wanted them to,” said the 28-year-old Essex star who nevertheless compiled two century breaks and four other half-centuries. McCulloch’s best was 78 in frame 13 with the game almost out of reach.
“I like to move the balls around and to talk to them,” said the world number one. “But I never felt comfortable out there.”