RONNIE O’Sullivan will take a six-month sabbatical from snooker after winning his fourth World Championship at the Crucible Theatre on Monday.
O’Sullivan raced to an 18-11 victory against Ali Carter, and immediately announced his plans to the pre-match press conference. The mercurial 36-year-old has repeatedly threatened to retire from the sport, and the recent expansion of the tour to 27 events – covering 50 weeks of the year – could force his hand.
But talk of his future should not overshadow his present. O’Sullivan was at his old best throughout this 2012 World Championship, and threatened to win the title with a session to spare before Carter regained something of a foothold in the contest.
For much of the time, however, he was resigned to his seat as the O’Sullivan show rumbled on. It was easy to lend some sympathy towards the diminutive Carter, now a two-time Crucible runner-up to his O’Sullivan; the crowd were vociferous in their support for his Essex rival throughout, and nothing the Chelmsford-born cueman attempted seemed to come off for him.
To his credit, however, Carter did show his quality in flashes but it simply wasn’t enough. Ronnie looked in the mood and, watched by his young son Ronnie Jr, he was determined to deliver.
“It was the best,” O’Sullivan reflected afterwards.
“I didn’t think I’d ever get the opportunity to share those moments with him so it was so nice to have him here.”
O’Sullivan laid his emotions bare even before the result was beyond doubt, blowing a kiss to his son after potting a black in the final frame.
“I got a bit emotional before the match was over, it felt like just me and him in the whole arena,” O’Sullivan added.
“There was just this massive connection between me and him, the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
Carter joked after the match that his chance to become World Champion may only arrive when O’Sullivan retires, and that day may be sooner than later.
“There’s a bit more left in the tank but it’s up to certain people to do the right thing and stop trying to blackmail players,” said O’Sullivan.
“I’m not going to hang around for two more years for things to become fair.
“I’m quite happy to move on if I have to and enter another world where there aren’t those types of restrictions on me,” he said.