13.1.10

UNDERSTANDING RONNIE

It seems absurd to many that Ronnie O’Sullivan could be so down on himself despite what looked to most of us like an excellent performance in battling back from 3-0 down to beat Neil Robertson 6-4 in the Pokerstars.com Masters yesterday.

Ronnie said that he was playing his best snooker at 15 or 16. Can this really be true? My colleague Phil Yates, who spent many a week at the qualifiers in Blackpool when O’Sullivan turned professional in 1992, certainly believes he was every bit as good then as he is now.

But you do not have to be a trained psychologist to recognise that Ronnie’s life was happier then as well because this was just before his father, Ronnie senior, was jailed for murder.

Ronnie’s entire character was shaped by his father. He gave him his confidence, his self belief and provided him with everything he needed to become a top snooker player.

So at 15/16, O’Sullivan played snooker without a care in the world before his world came crashing down around him.

It’s impossible to say whether he would have suffered from depression regardless of his father’s incarceration but he seems to find it hard to derive joy from the way he plays, even if many others love watching him.

How will he change when his father is permanently released from prison this year?

It could go one of two ways: he could either raise his game or may feel the pressure of having to perform more acutely than before.

Ronnie doesn’t ask for sympathy - and some would doubtless argue he doesn’t deserve any - but it’s important to understand the man and his background before merely slamming what he says after apparently playing very well indeed.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

hes a fantastic talent, but gets away with far too much IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I went to the game yesterday and it certainly was a fantastic match, i thought O'sullivan was on his way out, i'm sure a couple of years ago he would have been so well done for battling back and getting the win.

Can i say that there's no comparison from the B&H to now with regards to snooker equipment and the like from the Johnstone-allens and also no betting facilities available (hope some of you was on Robertson over 0.5 centuries at evens with pp, especially after his 5 100+ breaks in the championship).
At least they had Snooker scene on sale though so not all bad !

regards
Dean.

Anonymous said...

You're right Dave. Ronnie doesnt ask for any favours. He knows he will get them regardless from a governing body that knows he is the main draw. This is manifested from a discipline point of view, where it has been one rule for him, and another for everyone else. Nobody can deny he has at times brought the game into disrepute (still any publicity is good publicity) He knows he can get away with it becuase he brings so much to the game.

As to his father's conviction, nobody can appreciate what that might do to a young man so I cast no aspersions as to his character whatsoever. It must be a terrible burden not to have access to your dad as you grow up.

Ray said...

The number of tournaments that Ronnie has been able to win is truly remarkable, given what happened with his father and everything else that has gone on in his life.Since when was genius affable? Snooker fans should be thankful we have got him in the game like Alex and Jimmy before him.

Watching yesterday's play, Neil Robertson and Ali Carter played a couple of shots at pace, at an acute angle in to the middle pockets that would not have gone in in the UK championship. When is the anomaly of Championship pockets going to be sorted out once and for all.We all know the templates are the same but what is the point if the rubber at the entrance to the pocket is cut differently. They should all be the same - not too hard or too easy or else the players will start taking liberties. Then there would be no need to discuss the pockets ever.

Anonymous said...

i would never call any snooker player a genius, especially one who acts and does the terrible things that Ronnie has done over the years.

Hes a fantastic player.

Regarding understanding him - I dont want to, i just want to watch him playing snooker and hope that he learns to stop talking nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Off topic Dave but i'd just like to wish Stephen Hendry a very happy 41st birthday. Very well played on monday and i'd like to wish him a speedy recovery from his injuries. Happy birthday Stephen.

Anonymous said...

If RoS wasn't around snooker would be finished. Just look at the empty seats for this afternoon's match with Higgins and Allen. A world champion playing on a Wednesday afternoon. If that doesn't draw in the crowds - and it didn't - then what will? Hearn would be best advised sticking to darts.

Anonymous said...

Dave, soon you'll be saying it's unfair that his father is in jail and that murder is acceptable.

Dave H said...

No I won't. What a stupid comment.

Vedran said...

Nice text Dave, finally someone said something about that issue! Lately there are more people that are saying that Ron is this and that bla bla... but for christ sake please people look what the man has gone through in his life, he´s behaviour is obviously just a way he´s dealing with his past(present) problems, maybe it´s easier that way for him! Oh, and just one thing...ask yourself what kind of people would you be and ow would you react if your past is as half terrible as Ronnies!

Anonymous said...

@ Dave 5.25pm - LOL!!

I saw the last frame of the Higgins/Allen match just now and must say that I was surprised that there were so many empty seats. Initially, I thought it was just the lighting - was dark so I couldn't see the spectators!

Must say that Ronnie tends to get a bit "philosophical" when he's doing the interviews. But i guess if you're in that situation, what else can you do?

I don't think that everything he says is nonsense. Saying that it's OK whether you win or lose is a way of dealing with things in life. Obviously, being a fan, it's a little worrying, but then, he is in his mid 30's and if he can't enjoy the game and is stressed about winning all the time, where's the fun in that?

trophymad said...

It's funny, I just wrote something like this in my myspace BLOG the other day. Thanks for making it clear to those who don't want to or can't understand!

Claus Christensen said...

That was a great post, Dave. And most people would enjoy reading Ronnie's book. It's a quick read and you get a better understanding of his complex character.
But the way he won those frames yesterday was amazing..

Dave H said...

In fairness I think the crowds today were affected by the snow in London

Anonymous said...

How many other sportsmen, in any field, could come back from an absolute mauling at 3-0 down and play with such sublime brilliance(not forgetting Robertsons 140)to pull it out of the fire and win 6-4. I must admit, I'm not easily impressed nowadays, but that was utterly fantastic from one of sports modern greats, whatever you think about him personally!!

Mat Wilson

Anonymous said...

I counted about 150 in for Day Perry last night. Not sure about the Wembley Arena as a venue - it was very cold as it is so big.

Anonymous said...

Watching Day vs. Perry yesterday it came to me that Mr. Hearn may ask some players parents to commit a nice crime to increase the players popularity. A sick thought, i know, but so called artists like Ron Wood will be attracted. I do not want to be disrespectful to ROS, but under Pop-Aspects, his lot was helpful.

Greg said...

I can't believe that crime comment was allowed to be posted on this blog. We're joking about murder for the sake of entertainment now?

Jesus.......

BTW anonymous, Ronnie Wood is a much better example of an artist than the horrible faceless karaoke singing nobodies who frequently crush snooker in the TV ratings.

Anonymous said...

Neither I was joking nor am I a believer, it was just a thought.
Credits to Dave not censoring the post.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie's unique interview style is part of what makes him such an appealing character. He appears to be very open and genuine and to be saying exactly what he is thinking. This means you don't get the standard platitudes, and sometimes he may sound a litle ungenerous to others and himself, but he is always interesting.