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O’Sullivan sets out retirement plan and admits ‘behaviour’ blighted career

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Ronnie O’Sullivan claims he may not have long left at the top level of snooker while discussing his outlook for the future. The Rocket is already one of the most decorated players in the sport’s history, but feels as though he could have banked even more silverware if ‘naughty behaviour’ did not take hold earlier in his career.

O’Sullivan has won a staggering seven World Snooker Championships and 39 ranking titles – more than anyone else in history – since turning professional in 1992.

His seventh and most recent triumph at the Crucible came in 2022, moving him level with Stephen Hendry at the top of the all-time charts. O’Sullivan lost to eventual winner Luca Brecel during this year’s tournament.

Now 47 years old, the Rocket is already the oldest world champion in snooker history, but he claims to have a good few years left in the tank before considering retirement.

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“I think I’ve got three or four years left to do, but you have to be dedicated,” he told The Mirror. “I’ve always been open to learning and becoming a better player. I think I’m a better player than I ever have been because I don’t rely on just one thing. Over the years I’ve had to learn to improve in a lot of areas and now I can call upon them.”

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O’Sullivan has won four of his world titles since establishing a working relationship with sports psychiatrist professor Steve Peters more than 10 years ago. One more triumph would put him alone at the top of the charts.

“My life has always been in a bit of chaos, it’s always been like that. But I’ve definitely calmed down a lot now, I’ve just trained myself to be that way. Every time you win a world title it just takes so much out of you.

“It’s great winning [world titles], but you’ve only got so much inside of you. I had to find myself again, but I’d rather have dominated the game for ten years like Stephen Hendry.”

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