Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is ‘preparing for death’ by slowly getting rid of anything to do with snooker from his house, planning to give away his latest Shanghai Masters trophy before he even gets home.
The seven-time world champion continued his immense record at the Shanghai Masters last week, winning it for a fourth time on the spin and fifth in total.
It was far from straight forward, with tight wins over John Higgins, Mark Selby and then Luca Brecel in the final, who eventually succumbed 11-9 to the Rocket.
Pleased to keep up his unbeaten Shanghai run, which dates back to 2016, and pick up the chunky winner’s cheque worth £210,000, but not so thrilled to add another trophy to his extensive collection.
The 47-year-old says he wants no snooker memorabilia by the time he hits old age, and in that way he is already preparing for death by giving plenty away.
‘I’ll be giving the trophy to my friend who is opening up a club here. It will be staying in China,’ he said, via the BBC.
‘I always give them away. My mate Paul’s got one, I gave one to a kid in the crowd.
‘I’m not really bothered about trophies. I’ve sold quite a few of them – I don’t want any memorabilia left by the time I’m 70 or 80. I’m preparing for death – part of that is I don’t want no snooker stuff – waistcoats, cues, it’s all going to go.’
O’Sullivan was not always at his blistering best, with Higgins, Selby and Brecel all likely to be at least slightly frustrated that they didn’t grasp opportunities to beat him. However, his immense quality meant that just flashes of his peak stuff was enough to get his hands on the trophy again.
There is no doubt that the Rocket is more focussed and committed to the cause in this event than most, and that dedication paid off.
‘I just tried hard,’ he said. ‘I mentally thought that plan A was to go out there, dominate and score breaks. Plan B was to keep my focus and emotions in check. I tried not to lose it out of frustration.
‘It was one of those tournaments. I was well below par, but in moments I played alright when I had to. I wasn’t on auto pilot, everything was a bit of a struggle from start to finish.’
World champion Brecel had another good week as he continues to cement himself among the very elite of the game and O’Sullivan was not shocked to see him play so well again.
‘I’m not surprised Luca has done as well as he has,’ said the Rocket. ‘He’s not a surprise World Champion. He’s got an amazing gift to play this game. The performance he put on in Sheffield was unbelievable.
‘He has improved a lot as a player and he loves the game. He has his girlfriend here with him and they seem to be having a great time. I wish I was at his stage of his career. He is a young man with a lot of years ahead of him. Snooker is getting bigger in China so it is a good time to be a professional snooker player.’
Brecel never seems to be down after a loss and certainly not after the stunning few months he has had on and off the table.
He paid tribute to his girlfriend Laura for her support and looked forward to a very busy schedule ahead for the rest of the year.
‘What an unbelievable week it’s been here in Shanghai with my baby. She has been the best support I could imagine – such a caring lady,’ Brecel wrote on Instagram.
‘That’s two finals in my last three tournaments so I’m really happy with how things are going and I feel like I will only get strong as the season goes on.
‘Still a very busy season ahead btw. Nine tournaments from now until December and then another nine from January till May…so I will keep riding the wave and try to win some more.
‘So grateful for this life. All the sacrifices over the last 10-15 years were worth it.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.