No retirement for champion ‘Rocket’

Ronnie O’Sullivan assured snooker fans “I haven’t gone yet” after winning his fourth World Championship title at the Crucible last night.

The “Rocket” had threatened to follow Stephen Hendry into retirement ahead of the final against Ali Carter, which saw him complete an 18-11 win last night.

Carter joked immediately after his second final defeat “Maybe if he retires I might win it” — but O’Sullivan immediately dismissed such thoughts.

“A few people doubted me but I’ll let them know when I’m not ready,” he said. “I certainly haven’t gone yet.”

O’Sullivan did, however, reflect on how tough the tournament had been and revealed he will take an extended break to spend time with his young family.

Accompanied by his son Ronnie Jr ahead of the trophy presentation, he said: “I’m having a good six months off now to spend time with this little man, and my little daughter.

“I’ll have a nice, good break and assess the situation, but it’s all good. I’ll just enjoy the moment.

“It was very, very hard. For anyone to come here and stand 17 days – it’s an endurance test.

“It’s not as much about the snooker, it’s just controlling the emotions.

“I came here to entertain in this tournament, I wanted to show people what I was capable of.”

He admitted the influence of sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters on his return to form this season, after a slip down the world rankings and several previous threats to retire.

“I wouldn’t have been playing if it wasn’t for Steve,” he said.

“I said to him when I met him, ’I don’t want you to be able to help me’, and he said that’s the normal reaction.

“It’s been tough, I’ve had to face things I didn’t want to face and don’t wanna keep facing, sometimes I just want to run.”

At 36, the Chigwell cueman becomes the oldest champion since Ray Reardon, who at 45 landed his sixth title in 1978, and if it were any other player such a success might be considered one which could spur a late career flourish.

O’Sullivan made three centuries in the match, including the 141 he registered yesterday that enters the record books as the highest break in a World Championship final, and the dash to 101 in the opening session today which was sparked by a silky smooth long red.

Last night, 15-10 ahead entering the final session, he began in the manner of a champion with a 70 break that meant Carter required eight of nine frames to achieve his title goal.

And it was soon all over, O’Sullivan polishing off his triumph with a sharp 61 break.

He saluted his opponent’s battling display, which came after a surprise run to the final having regained fitness following a season spent battling the effects of Crohn’s disease.

“I want to congratulate Ali on a fantastic tournament,” he said.

“He’s a top three or four player in the world, he hasn’t been well but he’s come back and had a brilliant tournament, he’s shown everyone what a good player he is.”

But Carter said: “I’m just disappointed to lose. I didn’t feel I played well in the final.

“Ronnie put me under all sorts of pressure. His safety game was unbelievable. I was just under it from the start.”


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