Ronnie O’Sullivan explains why he made a 146 in 2016
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s rivals at this year’s World Snooker Championship face a ‘beast’ after Hossein Vafaei rattled his cage before their last 16 match. The Rocket came out firing to end his war of words with the Iranian, winning their tie 13-2 with a session to spare and truly kickstarting his World Championship defence.
Vafaei rattled the cage of O’Sullivan in the lead-up to his their match by stating that the snooker legend was only a nice person when he was asleep. The Rocket responded by claiming that fighting talk only gave him an extra incentive to win.
The defending world champion told Vafaei not to “rattle his cage” and that those who do tend to get slapped down. True to his word, O’Sullivan did exactly that. He led 6-2 at the close of play in their first session and then won all the remaining frames once play resumed.
The fighting talk could have been exactly what O’Sullivan needed to pump him up after a lacklustre 10-7 win against qualifier Pang Junxu in his opening match of the tournament. Afterwards, O’Sullivan revealed that he was feeling under the weather in his opening match.
The Rocket has not won a ranking tournament since his record-equalling seventh world title last season and mixes competing with punditry work with Eurosport. However, the prospect of an eighth world title looks to have given him a renewed fire and the snooker great has enlisted the help of psychologist Steve Peters.
O’Sullivan said he felt better after the illness that he suffered during his opening match but was ‘irritated’ by Peters’ approach of banning him from exercise during the tournament. O’Sullivan told BBC Sport: “I feel a lot better. I still can’t run though, which is irritating because that’s my first love, my first passion.
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“Whenever I come to a tournament and I run, it’s a holiday. That’s the most important thing and I get to play snooker as well. That’s a little bit of a thing, but I just have to suck it up and find other ways of entertaining myself and keeping myself occupied. I’m not allowed to do any exercise, I’ve been told by Steve Peters I asked when I could exercise and he said I can’t with about 20 exclamation marks in a text message.”
An irritated O’Sullivan who has had his cage rattled is an ominous prospect for his quarter-final opponent Luca Brecel, with the first session of their tie due to take place on Tuesday morning.
Brecel is in the World Championship quarter-finals for the first time after stunning Mark Williams 13-11 in the previous round.
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