Returning O’Sullivan sets sights on a fifth World Championship

 
Frank Dalleres
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WORLD snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is convinced he can defend his title despite playing just one competitive match in the last 10 months, after announcing his comeback yesterday.

The 37-year-old lost to rank outsider Simon Bedford in a Players Tour Championship event in September – his only ranking event since winning a fourth world title in April – and pulled out of the 2012-13 season in November.

But upon declaring his return just two days before Thursday’s deadline for entries to the Crucible, O’Sullivan said: “I am used to being written off. I know how good I am and that I can do this.”

O’Sullivan, who has battled depression and suffered glandular fever early last year, said he felt “refreshed” following his four-month break, which had prompted renewed speculation that he might retire.

“I got a bit bored,” he added. “I was never out of juice. I don’t find snooker hard mentally or physically. It was always in the back of my mind that I had to come back with a clear head after sorting a few things out.”

RONNIE’S WOBBLES

1998: Stripped of Irish Open title for failing drug test, then misses UK Championship with depression
2006: Quits quarter-final against Stephen Hendry at UK Championship while 4-1 down, is fined £21,000
2008: Wins World Championship but then hints at retirement
2012: Pulls out of rest of season citing “personal issues”