Ronnie O’Sullivan sounds highly motivated ahead of next season (Picture: Getty Images)
Ronnie O’Sullivan was left ‘really gutted’ by how he played at the Crucible this year and intends to ‘come back a different player’ next season.
The Rocket was looking good at the World Championship this year, beating Pang Junxu in the opening round before thrashing Hossein Vafaei in the last 16.
The seven-time world champion was still looking strong at 10-6 ahead against Luca Brecel in the quarter-finals, before the Belgian reeled off seven frames on the spin to win the match and continue his incredible run all the way to the title.
While it was brilliance from the Belgian Bullet in that final session, O’Sullivan certainly played poorly and he admits that his performance hurt him in the aftermath of the sport’s biggest event.
The 47-year-old believes he still has a significant amount of time at the top of snooker, if he is prepared to dedicate his life to the sport, something he intends to do next season as he warns his rivals that he intends to put his recent Crucible performance right.
‘I think, if I want it, I’ve got three really good years,’ O’Sullivan told the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. ‘But that depends on whether I’m fully devoted to it and say snooker’s all I’m going to do for three years, which I can do but it’s hard if you want to do some days with Jimmy White as a pundit, a few exhibitions, because they’re fun.
‘I can still perform, still be a top eight player doing that. But to really give yourself the best opportunity it’s about being totally on it and it’s whether I’m prepared to do that and I think I will this year.
‘The last World Championships wasn’t a good tournament for me. I was really gutted with how I played. I wasn’t disappointed I lost, you lose you know, but the way I played, I wasn’t happy with that.
‘I want to try and put that right and try and come back a different player next year.’
O’Sullivan suffered a surprise defeat to eventual champion Luca Brecel in the Crucible quarter-finals (Picture: Getty Images)
Still world number one, O’Sullivan has no doubt he can still perform at the very highest level, saying he is probably a better player now than he has ever been due to constantly developing a more rounded game over the years.
‘For me, it’s always been about being open to learn and becoming a better player,’ he said. ‘I think now I’m a better player than I’ve ever been, because I don’t rely on one thing, I’ve got three or four different options of surviving within a game and at any point I can switch.
‘It’s taken time, because I was never really the best at anything, I wasn’t the best long-potter, I wasn’t the best safety player.
‘I was always good at making breaks and scoring quickly, which is an amazing asset to have, but without the other stuff it became a bit one-dimensional.
‘Over the years I’ve had to improve in a lot of them areas and now I can call upon them. But I always know at the back of my mind I need to be firing on all cylinders, which is scoring breaks at a rapid speed. When I’m doing that I’m a dangerous opponent.
‘It’s learning, leaning to be a better player. That’s what excites me. I spent a lot of time struggling, trying to work it out. I’m at the point now that I’ve improved, but how long can I keep it going for now? I’ve worked so hard to get there and now I want to make as much hay as I can and [get] enjoyment. Because I suffered a lot with it and I’ve learned to not suffer. It’s about more pleasure now.’
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‘I want to try and put that right.’