O’Sullivan triggers retirement talk by taking indefinite break

WORLD champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is set to miss the rest of the season after abandoning plans to return to snooker due to “personal issues”.

O’Sullivan’s manager Django Fung said the 36-year-old, who pulled out of last week’s International Championship citing illness, may quit the game permanently.

“Let’s hope not. You never know with Ronnie, he’s an emotional player,” said Fung. “We all have personal problems and some can handle them better than others. When he has these personal problems, Ronnie finds it difficult to concentrate on snooker. He’s had glandular fever, which has been dragging on for some time. He also has issues with his children and getting access and he’s finding it difficult with all the travelling.”

The Essex cueman announced he was taking a break in June, a month after winning his fourth World Championship, after criticising governing body World Snooker for its “onerous” new 50-week schedule.

O’Sullivan missed the first three ranking events of the season but returned in September to play a non-ranking Players Tour Championship event in Gloucester, where he suffered a shock first-round defeat.