Ronnie O’Sullivan retirement call pays off as three world titles boosts fortune

Ronnie O’Sullivan explains why he made a 146 in 2016

Ronnie O’Sullivan has banked millions since deciding not to retire back in 2011, by which point he suspected his snooker career may be over. The Rocket’s second wind has seen him build a formidable pot of career prize money, helped by the three world titles won since his crucial retirement call.

The seven-time world champion recently admitted that he almost walked away from snooker back in 2012. Then 35 years old, he cited the respective declines of fellow snooker icons Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis as his source of concern.

“I thought you were meant to be done and dusted at that age,” he added, speaking to talkSPORT and BBC Radio 5 Live. “But then I just got better. I met Steve Peters and got my head right because I didn’t have a head before that.

“It was all pot a ball if I felt like it, if I didn’t, then great, go home and get out of there. And from there I started winning more, and I have been more successful in those last 10 years.”

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O’Sullivan will be thanking his lucky stars that he decided to stick around. Since 2012, he has earned more than £6million in prize money from snooker alone, including nearly £1m in each year between 2018 and 2020.

Those windfalls, which were helped by world title triumphs in 2013, 2020 and 2022, have contributed to O’Sullivan’s overall estimated net worth of £32m. The Rocket turned professional at the age of 16 and has since won an unmatched 21 Triple Crown titles.

His haul of seven World Snooker Championship wins puts him level with Hendry at the top of the all-time charts in the modern era. The 47-year-old fell short at the Crucible this year, however, as he lost to eventual winner Luca Brecel.

“He played unbelievable,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport after his 13-10 defeat to the Belgian. “He’s such a good player, I love watching him play. His cue action, he gets through the ball so well. It’s incredible. The whip he gets on the white, the top spin, the thud he hits the ball with.

“He’s such a dynamic player, probably the most talented snooker player I’ve ever seen. I’d love to see him go and win it because that’s how snooker should be played. He’s a phenomenal talent and player.”

This week, the Rocket claimed that he plans to forego UK tournaments to concentrate on playing in Asia, telling talkSPORT: “I can’t do it all. Before I used to say: ‘I won’t travel, I’ll stay in the UK,’ which was sweet, but now I think at this stage of my career, obviously Asia’s a big place to play, bigger tournaments, so I’ll do them and miss the UK ones.”

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