Ronnie O’Sullivan blazed his way into the quarter-finals of the Royal London Watches Grand Prix – and then declared he wanted to be like Billy the Kid.
The Rocket came out firing as he romped to a 5-2 win over former UK champion David Gray.
And having revealed he has rediscovered his love for snooker, O’Sullivan stressed he will not be changing his natural attacking game.
“I want to be like Billy the Kid,“ said O’Sullivan. “A lot of snooker players are too intense and serious.
“You can catch it off them. It’s like a lurgy which goes around if you hang around them too much. You kind of become them – you get cloned without knowing it.
“You end up being like them and I’ve got to be careful not to be.
“I like Billy the Kid for the rawness of it because that’s the way I play.
“I’m not in this for trophies or the money, I’m in this for the love. That means more to me.
“I won’t stop playing an aggressive game because for me, to be great at your sport, you need to be aggressive.
“You look at all the great sportsmen who have played any sport and Steve Davis, (Roger) Federer, (Tiger) Woods, (Michael) Schumacher and Phil Taylor are all aggressive.
“They now to play a defensive game. I know how to play a defensive game, Ray Reardon has taught me that, but I don’t intend on having many matches like that.
“I remember winning as a kid with effortless ease and that’s how I need to play. I can do that if I play this type of game. I can go through players and win without it feeling like I’ve had to work for it.“
O’Sullivan started with a superb 136 break in the opening frame and followed that with a 51 run to go 2-0 ahead.
Gray won the next before O’Sullivan made his seventh century of the tournament to make it 3-1 at the interval.
Although Gray won the opener after the resumption, compiling a 72 break to reduce his arrears, O’Sullivan powered to victory with a run of 67 to clinch the match.
Australian Neil Robertson came from 2-1 down to end qualifier Andrew Norman’s chances of reaching the quarters.
“Overall I’m not too happy with the way I played throughout the match, but I’m definitely looking forward to playing Ronnie in the next round,” said Robertson after a 5-3 win.
“I know the players complain about lots of kicks, but we were just getting so many. You’re just waiting for it to happen at times.“
Robertson has now reached six quarter-finals in ranking events but has yet to go further.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s a good sign if you keep getting to quarter-finals,” added Robertson.
“Eventually I think I’ll start to break through. I’ve lost a few close ones, but it’s definitely not a stumbling block.”