Since 1977 the UK will take the Championship, it is the first of three so-called Triple tournaments this season. Defending champion is Australian Neil Robertson — but also the living snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan has braced seven times the trophy in the air, most recently in 2018. Since then, he has become more relaxed.
Mr. O’Sullivan, you have spoken out in 2018 for a kind of Champions League Snooker and now said that the sport has become a bit toxic. Do you still think that the snooker calendar needs an overhaul?
Ronnie O’Sullivan: That interests me now no more, I have to also no opinion. I decided a while ago that it is better for me when I’m doing my own thing and snooker just play for fun and as a hobby. You might as well not be disappointed. If someone came to me and would say, ‘Ronnie, so-and-so we want to do it’, I would open the face, but I will not be there in the middle. I have just too much fun, as I would put it on the line, that never happened for anything anyway. I’m much happier with this way I’m going now.
You say you play Snooker only a hobby and fun: Is lost with such a setting is not a bit of ambition ?
Maybe. Yes, perhaps. I’m not out there and think, if that goes wrong now, that’s it, because everything just turns to me to snooker. If you play as if it is about life and death, you have probably a greater chance to win more. But as I said, I’m happy with the current situation, but you might have to sacrifice even hunger and greed. But I’m not complaining. I am very pleased with what I do.
Check out the younger players still to you on? Feel on the tour respected?
As a player, yes. I think they love to see me play. And anyone who understands something of snooker, admired probably what I’m doing at the table. Perhaps they think that I am no longer with the heart there, and they would see the better. But I’m an adult, in life you have to choose and receive options. Many would find it sure better if I invest a lot more into snooker, but that will not happen at the moment. Perhaps in the future, but as it is now, it fits for me.
Who is for you the favorite in the UK Championship?
I’m not sure, there are probably five or six players and probably are the two or three players who were in a good mood in the recent tournaments, not to play in the UK Championship as well. A few years ago there was still short breaks between tournaments, so it was again absolutely ready at the start of each tournament. Today it’s different. If you’re good at certain tournaments that overlap with others, you’re not going where then again in top shape to be. I could name five or six players, but probably it could be four or five other wins. I think there are not more such huge gaps as when even Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis played or John Higgins and I had this phase when we were above all others.
How do you assess its first opponent, the qualifier Michael White, a?
I could not believe that he is not on the tour. Two years ago I was at the World Championships in Sheffield, and he told me he was no longer there. Then I said, ‘Wow’. I like him very much. If he beats me and progressing to the next round, I would not be too disappointed.
The UK Championship begin on November 23, the final takes place on Sunday 5 December. Eurosport transmits the tournament both on TV and in Stream.