RONNIE O'SULLIVAN

Player Profile

Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan, OBE (born 5 December 1975) is an English professional snooker and pool player. He is widely regarded as the greatest player in the sport's modern era. He is noted for his rapid playing style, mercurial temperament and his ambivalent relationship with the sport, from which he has taken prolonged sabbaticals and repeatedly threatened to retire.

BORN: 5 December 1975

SPORTS COUNTRY: England

NICKNAME: The Rocket

PRO: 1992 -

HIGHEST BREAK: 147 (13 Times)

CENTURY BREAKS: 874

TOURNAMENT WINS:

RANKING: 28

MINOR-RANKING: 3

NON-RANKING: 30

WORLD CHAMPION: 2001 • 2004 • 2008 • 2012 • 2013

A childhood snooker prodigy, O'Sullivan made his first century break at age 10 and his first maximum break at age 15. He turned professional in 1992, at the age of 16, and soon earned the nickname "The Rocket" because of his rapid playing style. He achieved his first major professional success when he won the 1993 UK Championship at the age of 17 years and 358 days, making him the youngest player ever to win a ranking title, a record he still holds. He is also the youngest player to have won the Masters, having captured his first title in 1995 at the age of 19 years and 69 days.

His record in Triple Crown events now stands at five World Championship, six Masters, and five UK Championship titles. His career total of 28 ranking titles puts him in joint second place (with Steve Davis and John Higgins) behind Stephen Hendry, who has 36, and his career earnings of over £8 million put him on second place after Hendry on snooker's all-time prize-money list. O'Sullivan has held the world number one ranking on multiple occasions, most recently during the 2009/2010 season. His other achievements include ten Premier League titles and winning the Nations Cup with England in 2000.

Known as a prolific break-builder, O'Sullivan holds the record for the most competitive century breaks, with 824. He also holds the record for the most ratified maximum breaks in professional competition and for the three fastest competitive maximum breaks, the quickest in 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

EARLY YEARS:

O'Sullivan's achievements in snooker began at an early age. He made his first century break (117) at the age of 10, completed his first total clearance (142) at age 12, and became British Under-16 Champion at age 13. He made his television debut in The Thames Snooker Classic when he was 14, with Steve Davis commentating on the match. He compiled his first maximum break in the final of the 1991 British Amateur Championships at age 15, and won the IBSF World Under-21 Championship in the same year. He turned professional in 1992, aged 16.

O'Sullivan began the 1992/1993 season by winning 74 of his first 76 professional matches, including a winning streak of 38 successive victories, a record that still stands. At the qualifying stage of the Grand Prix he defeated Jason Curtis 5–0 in a time of 43 minutes 36 seconds, setting the current record for the fastest best-of-9-frame match. After this Alan Hughes gave him the nickname "The Rocket". In September 1992, at the age of 16, he became the youngest player ever to qualify for the World Championship. He made his Crucible debut on 18 April 1993 at the age of 17 years and 134 days, and he is still the third-youngest player ever to compete at the venue behind Luca Brecel and Stephen Hendry. He lost 7–10 to Alan McManus in the first round. O'Sullivan was named the WPBSA's Young Player of the Year for 1993.

In the 1993/1994 season O'Sullivan defeated Hendry 10–6 in the final of the UK Championship to win his first ranking title. At the age of 17 years and 358 days he became the youngest ever winner of a professional ranking tournament. He faced Hendry again in the final of the European Open, but lost 5–9. He won his second ranking title at the British Open by defeating James Wattana 9–4 in the final. He reached the second round of the World Championship but lost 3–13 against John Parrott. Having started the season ranked number 57 in the world, he ended it ranked number 9, and was named the WPBSA's Player of the Year for 1994.

PLAYING STYLE:

O'Sullivan plays in a fast and attacking manner. He is a prolific breakbuilder and solid tactical player. He has stated his disdain for long, drawn-out games, saying that it harms the game of snooker. He is regarded by many other professionals as an excellent front-runner. In previous years, he could become demoralized by being behind and not playing well, and was liable to lose several consecutive frames. He is right-handed but can play to a very high standard with his left hand and routinely alternates where needed. While not quite possessing the same power in his left arm, being ambidextrous enables him to attempt shots with his left hand that would otherwise require awkward cueing with a rest or spider.

When he first displayed this left-handed ability in the 1996 World Championship against Alain Robidoux, the Canadian accused him of disrespect. O'Sullivan responded that he played better with his left hand than Robidoux could with his right. He was summoned to a disciplinary hearing in response to Robidoux's formal complaint, where he had to prove that he could play to a high level with his left hand. He played three frames of snooker against former world championship runner-up Rex Williams, winning all three. The charge of bringing the game into disrepute was subsequently dropped.

Unlike most players on the professional tour, O'Sullivan does not request the cue ball to be cleaned whenever a kick or heavy contact occurs and plays on normally as if it had not happened. He has stated that stopping to have the cue ball cleaned affects his rhythm and that it is easier just to continue playing.

2016/2017 SEASON:

O'Sullivan began the 2016/2017 season late, at the Shanghai Masters. In the first round, he defeated Liang Wenbo 5–4 after recovering from 1–4 down. It was his first professional tournament match in five months. However, this was as far as he progressed, as in the second round he lost by 2–5 to Michael Holt. Competing in the inaugural European Masters, O'Sullivan defeated David Gilbert 4–1 in the first round, Mark Allen 4–2 in the second round, Mark Davis 4–1 in the quarterfinals and then whitewashed Neil Robertson 6–0 in the semi-final. Facing Judd Trump in the final, O'Sullivan took a 5–3 lead after the first session. In the second session, O'Sullivan further led 8–6 before eventually losing 8–9. In the first of the Home Nations series of tournaments, at the inaugural English Open, O'Sullivan defeated Jimmy Robertson 4–0 in the first round, Zhao Xintong 4–3 in the second, but then lost to Chris Wakelin in the third by 3–4. At the International Championship, O'Sullivan beat Xiao Guodong 6–4 in the first round and Kurt Maflin 6–4 in the second to reach the last 16. However, he was then defeated by Michael Holt 4–6, making this the third consecutive loss to Holt in 2016.

O'Sullivan returned to action in the Champion of Champions. He won his group by defeating Robin Hull 4–2 in the first round and Martin Gould 6–2 in the second, and he then beat Mark Allen 6–2 in the semi-final with an impressive performance including three century breaks. O'Sullivan however could not reproduce the same form in the final and lost 7–10 to John Higgins. At the inaugural Northern Ireland Open, O'Sullivan defeated David John 4–1 in the first round, Jimmy White 4–1 in the second, and Zhang Anda 4–0 in the third. Kyren Wilson then edged out O'Sullivan 3–4 in the fourth round after O'Sullivan had staged a comeback with three consecutive century breaks after going 0–3 behind.

At the UK Championship, O'Sullivan produced dominant displays in the opening rounds defeating Boonyarit Keattikun 6–0 in the first, Rhys Clark 6–0 in the second and Michael Georgiou 6–1 in the third. He then beat Matthew Stevens 6–2 in the fourth round, Mark Williams 6–2 in the quarter-finals, and Marco Fu 6–5 in a tense semi-final, winning the deciding frame with a decisive break of 130. In the final, O'Sullivan played Mark Selby. In the first session after O'Sullivan went 2–1 up, Selby took advantage of errors by O'Sullivan to win 5 straight frames. However, in a high quality second session, O'Sullivan fought back to close to within one frame at 7–8, but Selby prevailed winning the next two frames and the title 7–10. In the last six frames of the match, a total of 5 century breaks were made, 2 by O'Sullivan of 134 and 130. This defeat marked the first time O'Sullivan had lost in a UK Championship final and the third consecutive defeat in a major final in this season.

O'Sullivan ended 2016 at the Scottish Open. He defeated Matthew Selt 4–2 in the first round, Adam Stefanow 4–1 in the second, Jimmy White 4–2 in the third and Mark Allen 4–2 in the last 16. He was then beaten 2–5 by John Higgins in the quarter-finals.

In the new year, O'Sullivan returned to the Masters as the defending champion. He defeated Liang Wenbo 6–5 in a dramatic first-round match. In the tenth frame, Liang missed the final black in a clearance which would have given him victory. After potting the black, O'Sullivan went on to produce a break of 121 in the deciding frame to win the match. O'Sullivan then beat Neil Robertson 6–3 in the quarter-finals, and Marco Fu 6–4 in the semi-finals to reach his twelfth Masters final despite problems with his cue tip. In the final, he defeated Joe Perry 10–7 to win his seventh Masters title, setting the record for the most number of title wins at the tournament. After the tournament, O'Sullivan received a disciplinary letter from World Snooker over comments he made to the press after his match with Fu. He criticised referee Terry Camilleri's performance and a photographer during post-match interviews. This led to O'Sullivan stating that he would no longer give in-depth answers in interviews or press conferences, claiming "when I share my thoughts, I risk being fined".

At the German Masters, O'Sullivan lost 4–5 to Mark King in the last 32 despite leading 4–1. O'Sullivan entered the World Grand Prix seeded fifth on the one-year ranking list. He defeated Yan Bingtao 4–2 in the first round, but lost 1–4 to Neil Robertson in the second. In the final event of the Home Nations series, the Welsh Open, O'Sullivan progressed past Tom Ford 4–1 in the first round. His defence was then ended early by Mark Davis, who beat him 3–4 in the second round after O'Sullivan had led 3–0.

O'Sullivan entered the Players Championship seeded 7th on the one-year ranking list. He defeated Liang Wenbo 5–1 in the first round, but was defeated 3−5 by Judd Trump in the quarter-finals. At the China Open, O'Sullivan defeated Gareth Allen 5−0 in the first round, but was then upset 4−5 by Mark Joyce in the second.

On the eve of the World Championships, O'Sullivan attended the 40th anniversary celebration of the Crucible Theatre holding the World Snooker Championship as a past champion. O'Sullivan then faced debutant Gary Wilson in the first round. He won five of the first six frames before Wilson fought back by winning three consecutive frames to trail by only 5−4 at the end of the first session. In a high scoring second session, O'Sullivan went on to defeat Wilson 10−7 and celebrated by repeatedly punching the air. Speaking to the media at length for the first time since the Masters, O'Sullivan attacked the WPBSA during his post-match press conference for using "threatening" language in communications with him and said he would no longer be "bullied" by the governing body in future. Jason Ferguson, chairman of the WPBSA, and Barry Hearn, chairman of World Snooker, denied the allegations. Past champions John Higgins and Stuart Bingham backed O'Sullivan with Higgins expressing "sympathy" for him and Bingham saying "he had a point". However, 2005 champion Shaun Murphy claimed that O'Sullivan's comments were "completely wrong". This added further intrigue ahead of the second round clash of O'Sullivan and Murphy. O'Sullivan later issued a statement saying he would "not be making any further comment" during the Championships and would instead focus on his "quest for a sixth world title".

During his second round match, O'Sullivan opened up a four frame advantage over Murphy in the first session to lead 6−2. In the second session, O'Sullivan maintained his advantage to lead 10−6 going into the final session. The third session saw no comeback from Murphy and O'Sullivan progressed to the quarter-finals 13−7. The quarter-finals would be the furthest O'Sullivan would progress, as he fell behind Ding Junhui 6–10 after the opening two sessions. Despite scoring the tournament's highest break with a 146 in the final session, he would eventually lose 10–13. Following his loss, O'Sullivan stated that he had no intention of retiring.

STATUS:

He is considered by many to be the most naturally talented player in the history of the sport, with some labelling him a 'genius'. Several of his peers regard him as the greatest player ever, although a temperamental streak sometimes leads to a lack of confidence or interest, and he has performed inconsistently throughout his controversial career thus far, with observers noting the 'two Ronnies' aspect of his character. According to Stephen Hendry after his defeat at the 2008 World Championship, "O'Sullivan is the best player in the world by a country mile". O'Sullivan has compiled the highest number of competitive century breaks in the sport's history,surpassing Hendry's previous record of 775. O'Sullivan has targeted reaching 1,000 century breaks before he retires.

O'Sullivan is one of the most popular players on the circuit, noted for being a 'showman' and has helped improve the image of snooker to the general public. O'Sullivan himself has stated his desire for entertaining the watching public, and has said that slow, gritty games put viewers off. He has often been compared to Alex Higgins and Jimmy White, because of both his natural talent and popularity. O'Sullivan has two verified social network accounts, on Twitter and Sina Weibo, with over 300,000 and over 160,000 followers respectively. He updates his Weibo account with the help of two assistants understanding Chinese.

BROADCASTER:

O'Sullivan started broadcasting regularly on Brentwood radio station Phoenix FM in May 2015, co-hosting the Midweek Matchzone show with Chris Hood. O'Sullivan has previously broadcast a number of hour-long specials for the station.

In March 2014, Eurosport announced that it had signed an exclusive deal with O'Sullivan to make him its global ambassador for snooker, with the goal of driving the sport's international appeal. As part of the deal, O'Sullivan creates an exclusive snooker series for the network called The Ronnie O'Sullivan Show, which includes his insights into the game, interviews with other professional players, and playing tips. He also wrote for Eurosport-Yahoo! websites and mobile apps during the World Championship. O'Sullivan works for Eurosport with Jimmy White and Neal Foulds doing analysis for events that he does not take part in or qualify for like the 2015 UK Championship and the 2016 German Masters.

PERSONAL LIFE:

O'Sullivan was born in Wordsley in the West Midlands. He grew up, and still lives, in the Manor Road area of Chigwell, Essex,an affluent suburb of London. He attended Wanstead High School. His parents Ronald John O'Sullivan and Maria O'Sullivan (née Catallana) ran a string of sex shops in Soho. His mother is Sicilian, and his paternal grandfather hails from Cork, Ireland. He is the cousin of female snooker player Maria Catalano, who has been ranked number one in the women's game. His father was jailed in 1992 for murder and released 18 years later. O'Sullivan has three children: Taylor-Ann Magnus (born 1996) from a two-year relationship with Sally Magnus; and Lily (born 2006) and Ronnie (born 2007) from a relationship with Jo Langley, whom he met at Narcotics Anonymous. In February 2013, he became engaged to actress and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Laila Rouass, with whom he had been in a relationship since early 2012.

He has been labelled a perfectionist, and highly self-critical, even in victory. He suffered from clinical depression, and has had drug-related problems, but works with the sports psychologist Steve Peters, who has helped him overcome his mood swings. Noted for repeatedly declaring his intention to leave the sport, O'Sullivan worked during the 2012/2013 season on a pig farm.

In 2003, media sources carried reports that O'Sullivan had converted to Islam, but despite his self-professed interest in the faith, these reports were proven to be false.O'Sullivan also espouses an interest in Buddhism,having spent many lunchtimes at the London Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green. However, he denies having a firm commitment to any religion.

O'Sullivan is a keen football fan and is a supporter of Arsenal. Another of his hobbies is motor racing. In 2004, he appeared on Top Gear as the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car", and finished with a time of 1:47.3 around the test track in a Suzuki Liana. He also succeeded in clearing a snooker table of four reds plus all the colours faster than the Stig was able to drive O'Sullivan's own Mercedes SL 500, with its "147" number plate, around the track. Over the weekend of 15–16 August 2009, in the Volkswagen Racing Cup at Silverstone using a Volkswagen Jetta with the car number "147", he drove two 20-minute rounds. In the first round, he spun off into a gravel trap, but fared better in the second, in which he finished 14th. O'Sullivan is also a keen runner, and runs for Woodford Green with Essex Ladies. He has a personal best of 34 minutes 54 seconds for 10 km races, which ranked him in the top 1500 of 10k runners in the United Kingdom in 2008. O'Sullivan also enjoys cooking, and has said that if he were to go back to school he would study cooking. This was reinforced by his appearance on BBC's Saturday Kitchen, in December 2014.

O'Sullivan publicly endorsed the Labour Party's leader Ed Miliband in the 2015 general election, and played a game of pool against the Labour leader, who had previously expressed his admiration for O'Sullivan. In February 2017, O'Sullivan said, [Labour Party leader] "Jeremy Corbyn is a man of his word. He is unwavering in his beliefs whether he is ­criticised for them or not. I'd like to be his friend. In April 2017, O'Sullivan joined the Labour Party, and became the first celebrity to endorse its leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 UK general election.

O'Sullivan is a close friend of with Dr Steve Peters, who has been influential on his career. He is also a close friend of fellow snooker player Jimmy White, and of British artist Damien Hirst.

Source: Wikipedia 2016

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