Seventh world title would be ‘fantastic’

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Ronnie O’Sullivan says winning a seventh world title to draw alongside Stephen Hendry would be “fantastic” but he has had “a wonderful career” even if he does not achieve the feat.

It was his 37th ranking title, a new record surpassing Hendry’s haul of 36.

“If I was to go out there and play as if I wanted to break records, I would not play as well as I do,” he said.

“You want to try playing with as much abandonment as you can which means not putting too much into records or World Championships.

“If I start looking at the trophy and the history on it, I would probably freeze.”

O’Sullivan on top of the world

‘The Rocket’ hammered Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-1 in his opening match – in a World Championship record fast time of 108 minutes – and overturned large deficits to oust three-time winners Mark Williams and Mark Selby.

On the first day of the final, he was far from his best yet still managed to open up a 10-7 lead, which he converted on Sunday helped by a run of eight straight frames.

O’Sullivan has now won more ranking titles (37) and more Triple Crown event titles (20) than any other player, while his sixth triumph at the Crucible took him alongside Ray Reardon and boyhood hero Steve Davis.

But one record remains in his sights, chasing down legendary Scot Hendry’s seven world titles.

O’Sullivan said: “For me, it is about hitting solid shots and finding some consistency. Whatever tournament I play in, it is about enjoying it for what it is and have some fun.

“If I happen to win another one, that would be fantastic. If I don’t, then I have had a wonderful career and snooker has given me plenty of pleasurable moments.

“My greatest asset is that I look like I am just in a practice match down the club when I am at the Crucible. As long as I can keep that same philosophy and style of play, that is what gets me through and has made me win a lot of tournaments.”

‘Passion of fans scares me’

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Spectators were allowed to attend the first day of the tournament, when O’Sullivan said players were being treated like “lab rats”, but changes in government guidelines meant they were barred thereafter.

But this changed again in time for the final, where 300 fans were inside the arena for the four sessions of the match.

O’Sullivan said the lack of a crowd meant there was less razzmatazz surrounding him in Sheffield, allowing him to approach matches with a “different mindset”.

He said: “When I am out there playing and they are going ‘come on Ronnie, come on Ronnie’, it scares me a bit. There is so much passion in their voices and it is like life and death to them.

“Then the other fans go ‘come on’ and I’m thinking: This is meant to be a gentleman’s sport. I want to compete and do well but when you throw that into the frying pan it takes the fun out of it for me.

“I just wish they could be a little more quiet and let us get on with it. I did realise I would do better if there was no crowd because there is a different mindset.”

O’Sullivan’s record of achievements

Most ranking titles: 37

Youngest winner of ranking event: Aged 17 years and 358 days

Most Triple Crown titles: 20

Most centuries: 1,061

Most maximums and quickest 147: 15, five minutes and eight seconds

Most consecutive wins in ranking event matches: 38

Fastest match at the Crucible: 108 minutes in first round win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

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