World champ O’Sullivan not ready to retire

TROUBLED star Ronnie O’Sullivan came out of semi-retirement to be crowned world snooker champion for the fifth time last night and confirmed he is not yet ready to hang up his cue.

The world No28, nicknamed The Rocket, had played just once since winning last year’s world final against Ali Carter at the Crucible, but returned to the table after a self-induced seven-month sabbatical and successfully defended his title with an 18-12 victory over Barry Hawkins.

En route to his sensational win, and £250,000 prize check, O’Sullivan said he had not missed snooker during his time away, but last night confirmed he has begun making plans for next season, though was non-committal over a possible Crucible return.

“I will definitely play in some smaller events because that’s pure snooker, whereas there are a lot of other things going on here and that’s hard sometimes,” he said.

“I love being at the Crucible and this has filled a nice gap. But when it’s snooker, snooker, snooker I don’t cope well with that and I need something to chill me out a bit.

“I didn’t know what to expect, my main motive wasn’t to win it. I was bored and needed something to keep me busy. I want to balance it with doing other stuff. I didn’t miss snooker I just missed having something to do.”

O’Sullivan held a 10-7 lead overnight and extended that advantage to 15-10 going into the evening session.

The 37-year-old hit a record six centuries on his way to defeating first-time finalist Hawkins, who hailed his flawless opponent.

“It’s unbelievable the way he makes the game look so easy, it’s frightening for the other players,” said Hawkins. “It was a shame I lost but it’s no disgrace to lose to Ronnie, the best player in the world.”