Ronnie O’Sullivan played some strange shots towards the end of his defeat to Judd Trump yesterday.

Some will have formed the impression that he wasn't bothered whether he won or lost but it is worth pointing out that pressure gets to even the greats.

O’Sullivan was obviously disappointed with how poorly he was playing and it was getting him down.

Many other players would take Ronnie’s ‘poor’ form but he has always been a perfectionist and is always aiming for a higher level than he can reach.

But when I hear him say in interviews that he isn’t happy with his game, I wonder if he just means he isn’t happy full stop.

O’Sullivan suffers from depression and his mood swings are hard to manage.

He likes the Premier League because it’s a series of one night stands for big money but loathes hanging around venues for a week.

I’m not sure how keen he is to go to Bahrain. World Snooker doesn’t officially pay appearance money but don’t be surprised if the world champion is suddenly put up for media interviews or promotional work before and during the tournament.

Ronnie may be embarrassed with his form but the fact remains that he is more than 9,000 points ahead of the chasing pack in the provisional rankings.

He will win more titles but I was amazed to hear some of the BBC pundits suggest he would equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world triumphs.

This seems to me to be very, very unlikely. O’Sullivan has never been a winning machine like Hendry or Steve Davis. He thrives on isolated inspirational performances that are often mirrored by periods of frustration.

More likely is that his career will continue is the same vein as before: plenty of highs, plenty of lows.

Some great performances, centuries, maximums and stunning play.

Controversy, strange defeats and statements likely to stir up furious debate.

This is the full Ronnie O’Sullivan package and the reason he remains such a fascinating figure.


Black_cat from TSF said...

Mr. Hendon, just a remark here: I don't think it's very appropriate that Ronnie's condition should be brought up each time after a (surprise) defeat, given that he doesn't blame his relatively poor performances on it and doesn't see it as an excuse, publickly, anyway.

Dave H said...

I don't bring it up after every defeat

stuartfanning said...

Terry Griffiths was the only pundit who didn't think O'Sullivan would match Hendry.

Anonymous said...

his father will inspire him to win more titles.

ProSnookerBlog said...

I agree with you, very surprised to see Ken, Ebdon and Davis say that he would make it to seven.

He's talented enough, but having 'only' won it three times in about 15 years, logic suggests that he won't win it another four times in the four or five years that he probably has left at the top of the game.

He's still the best and capable of some brilliant performances, but his long potting is already not as good as it was and it is inevitable that age will start to take its toll as the years go on. He was the oldest winner of the Worlds since Joe Johnson this year wasn't he? That's not an accident for me.

Black_cat from TSF said...

Owe you an apology, Mr. Hendon, for the way I've structured my comment: you, personally, do not bring Ronnie's condition up after each defeat but others do and, quite franktly, they shouldn't. But they will nevertheless.
Other players face all kinds of struggles in their personal lives and, unless they themselves talk about them, nobody seems to be particularly interested.
I can't but fully agree with the last five paragraphs of your article, for you've managed to summarise what Ronnie's career is all about. There's only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Isn't it?

kimball said...

we have had some flops in the GP
and rarely fantastic play.
Is it not possible that commuting
to Shanghai takes some edge away
for quite a few of the players.

kimball said...

Never has O'sullivan been more balanced than 2007-08 and he is
producing the goods week in week out.
Now he played badly from the start
and Liang Wenbo should have bagged
Same goes for Marco Fu, one match
brilliant, the next, totally flat.

What,s the use in speculating about
O'Sullivan not going to Bahrain.

O'Sullivan is a winning machine actually and whatever you say,
for me, the standard are so much higher now. There are no matches where you can relax as a top player.
the game has finally moved on a small step, gone are the times when
6-8 players won all tournaments.
Of course, that,s the way it should be and if somebody came
along and dominated the game now.
Then, he would probably be the greatest snookerplayer ever.