Ronnie O’Sullivan’s bizarre idea to have leg sawn off: ‘F***ing mad!’

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

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Six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan becomes the oldest finalist since Ray Reardon reached the final 40 years ago aged 49. The Rocket booked his place in Sunday’s showdown against Judd Trump with a comfortable 17-11 win over John Higgins. O’Sullivan has won six of his seven finals, and will now look to equal Stephen Hendry’s impressive record of seven world titles in the modern era.

His opponent, 2019 winner Trump, withstood a Mark Williams fightback to win a thrilling final-frame decider.

Trailing 12-5 on Friday, Williams won 11 of the next 14 frames to establish a 16-15 lead, but fell short at the very last hurdle.

Coverage of this afternoon’s final, a best of 35 match, begins at 1pm on BBC Two.

Widely considered one of, if not the greatest snooker player of all time, O’Sullivan has endeared himself to crowds with his fast and attacking playing style.

Throughout his remarkable career, O’Sullivan has battled with his inner self, and revealed in a throwback interview that he genuinely contemplated having his leg sawn off in the hope it would improve his game.

Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2013, he said: “Dark thoughts can overwhelm you.

“I thought about having my left leg sawn off once. I really did.

“I was worried about my stance because I couldn’t keep that leg still.

“I said to my dad, ‘How about if I get a wooden leg that won’t move? I wouldn’t miss’.

“I said, ‘I will get a new hip. I’ve worn my hip out. If I got a new hip it might not bend as much’.”

O’Sullivan’s dad told him: “You’re f***ing mad.”

O’Sullivan told his dad his idea had sporting reasons behind it, saying: “No, I’m no. I need something that is stable.

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“That is what is stopping me from being consistent.”

The Rocket is renowned for his perfectionism and for being particularly self-critical, even in victory.

He battled depression early in his career, and has turned to close friend and sports psychologist Steve Peters in the past decade to help him overcome mood swings.

He addressed the battle he faces with his inner self, saying: “I always felt if I mentioned it they would think I was nuts.

“If I’d said it 10 years ago, I’d have been locked up.

“But now I’m 40, I’ve kind of done all right, I can say that my life’s been a bit of a f***ing tough one but I’ve got through, I’m half sort of still together. Result.”

O’Sullivan’s dad was sentenced to life in prison for murder in 1992, just as the snooker legend was turning professional, and drink and drugs soon became a large part of his life.

He turned to running, initially as a way to lose weight, but it soon became much more than that.

Speaking to Runner’s World in 2019, he said: “Running has kept the things that are important to me — my family, relationships and snooker — much more stable. I’ve noticed I don’t get so moody, there isn’t the same self-loathing.

“Running just makes me feel so much better about myself, which is good for everyone around me too.”

The Rocket runs just like he plays snooker, quickly.

With a personal best of 34:54 for 10km, he was ranked inside the top 1,500 runners in the UK in 2008.

A sell-out crowd at the Crucible will watch O’Sullivan bid for World Championship over the next two days.

Coverage begins on BBC Two at 1pm.

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