Premier League Snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan glad to have dad in tow
Ronnie O'Sullivan feels he is in 'a good space' after taking a record ninth Premier League Snooker crown at Potters on Sunday – watched for the first time in 18 years by his father.
The Rocket's form bordered on untouchable as he hammered defending champion Shaun Murphy 7-1 in a buzzing final at Hopton-on-Sea – his seventh successive appearance in the Premier League's climax.
But the 34-year-old also cut a more relaxed figure throughout the play-off weekend – something no doubt helped by the presence of his father, Ronnie Senior, who was released last week from HMP Sudbury, in Derbyshire, having served his sentence for murder.
And former world No 1 O'Sullivan Junior admitted he was glad his father can now join him, as he looks to end a run of just one ranking title in two seasons.
'I don't know what it really meant yet for him or me; I came here and I just did my thing, and we're just getting to know each other again really,' said O'Sullivan after his Potters victory.
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'I feel in a good space. I've felt in a good space for quite a long time now, for maybe ten years. I've had the odd moments where I've just gone off key, but a lot of that is down to having a few disappointing results in the snooker and not doing as well as I thought I was capable of.
'So you get a bit down on yourself, but you play a good match again and then you get back up.
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'But it's good to have Dad out. He's missed out on a lot of my career, so it's always nice for him to be able to catch up on the end of my career.'
He added: 'I feel relaxed. I think my game is a little better now than it was the last two years. I was a bit inconsistent, so that adds to things and the anxiety. But this year – well, the last three or four weeks – I just feel like I've started to find a bit of form, so the game is coming a little easier which settles the nerves a bit.'
Last year Murphy ended O'Sullivan's run of five successive Premier League titles and, after showing some scintillating form against Marco Fu in his semi-final on Saturday, it seemed he would be more than capable of completing his defence 24 hours later.
However, the Magician got nowhere near that level and was unable to come back from missing a couple of regulation pots at crucial times.
'It was a little bit offputting sometimes because Shaun was missing a few balls that you wouldn't normally expect him to miss and then it kind of throws your concentration off and you start to think every chance you get you just want to put the match away,' said O'Sullivan. 'And in the middle of the game you've just got to slow down, enjoy the game and try to take every opportunity that comes your way.
'It was always going to be a tough match. Shaun did great to win it last year and managed to make a good defence of his title, getting to the final. He's been consistent all season, but I was able to get off early and get in front, and then it was difficult for him to get into the game.'
Last year saw O'Sullivan take on the City of Norwich Half Marathon on the morning of his Potters final – something he conceded was 'an experiment that went wrong' and, in the end, its postponement was irrelevant for the former world snooker champion.
'I thought I'd just rest up and make sure I gave myself every chance of winning the match tonight, because I knew I'd need my energy,' said O'Sullivan, who is renowned both as a snooker genius and as the toughest critic. 'It felt good, I felt I was pretty solid in all areas of the game. My long ones were going in which was good, my safety game was okay and I scored a few when I got in. I was probably eight out of ten in all areas, which is always good and gives you a good chance of winning matches.'
O'Sullivan has two wins from the three finals held at Potters – something he may add to when the play-offs return next year.
'Yeah, I've had two victories here and I managed to make the final last year, so I've got a good record here and I enjoy coming here,' he added. 'They're good fans, and the Potter family are great. They always make it very enjoyable for us, so all the players look forward to coming.'