‘I could probably play to my mid-50s’: Ronnie O’Sullivan says he could play for another DECADE as he targets two more World Championships to add to his record-equalling seventh title
- Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a record-equaling seventh World Snooker title
- The 46-year-old surpassed Ray Reardon to become oldest world champion ever
- O’Sullivan will give himself best possible chance of surpassing Stephen Hendry
Ronnie O’Sullivan has laid out plans to play into his mid-50s and become the greatest golden oldie in sport.
The 46-year-old eclipsed his former coach Ray Reardon as the oldest World Championship winner when he beat Judd Trump 18-13 in Monday’s final.
O’Sullivan also equalled Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles and will give himself the best possible chance of surpassing the Scot by competing at the Crucible for at least another two years.
Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a record-equaling seventh World Snooker title on Monday
But the world No1 believes he is capable of carrying on for as long as another decade, admitting he is inspired by other sporting legends who have defied Father Time, including Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.
‘If I can get another two World Championships out, that will be great and we will assess it from there, but that is a minimum,’ said O’Sullivan.
‘With snooker there’s a shelf life and I have to accept that. But I’m just trying to prolong my career as long as I can.
‘I could probably play to my mid-50s if I wanted to. Tournaments like this will probably be a bit of a strain at that age. I could probably pitch up and win one or two matches, but I’d have no chance of winning it.
A teary-eyed O’Sullivan wipes his face as he takes in his monumental achievement
‘All the other tournaments, why not? I enjoy being on the circuit, I enjoy being on the road. If I’m enjoying it and having fun with it then I’ll play as long as I want to play.
‘I admire sports people who have done it over time, who have longevity. I’ve seen a lot of snooker players come and go over the years. They come in for three or four years flying and then they disappear.
‘You look at other sports. You’ve got Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal. You have Floyd Mayweather, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson.
‘All those type of guys, they are the ones you have the ultimate respect for.’
For most observers, O’Sullivan’s latest win at Sheffield has finally settled the debate over who is the greatest snooker player of all time.
The 46-year-old surpassed Ray Reardon to become the oldest world champion in history
Beaten finalist Trump has even tipped the Rocket to win 10 world titles but he said: ‘I don’t consider myself the greatest ever at all. There are a lot of players out there that I wish I had elements of their game in my game.
‘I won’t consider myself the great if I win eight. I don’t want to be considered the greatest. I want to be known as someone who loves snooker and loves playing. I enjoy to compete and that’s it.’
O’Sullivan has also been installed as the early favourite to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year, having missed out on the top three after making the six-person shortlist in 2020.
‘I won’t ever get that one,’ he said. ‘I don’t know why but I don’t think I’ll be in the hunt. It’s not one I want to win. I’m not bothered about awards.’
O’Sullivan is currently being filmed for a documentary about his life and he admits his magnificent seventh title has provided producers with a fairytale finale.
Ronnie celebrates his success with daughter Lily and son Ronnie Junior (left-right)
‘I have given them complete access,’ he added. ‘If you could put a fly on the wall and follow me for 17 days here, that’s basically what’s happened.
‘They’ve been in my dressing room, in my hotel room, before and after matches, after sessions.
‘I embraced it because whatever I get involved in, I’m like, “Well let’s make this the best we can possibly do”.
‘The access I’ve given them they’ve said, “We’ve never ever had that sort of access with any other sportsman”.
‘Hopefully people watch it and enjoy it and get to see everything. It will have a good ending as well.
‘It was a bit of a challenge but I was up for it. Sometimes I like a little distraction so it was a bit of a buzz to do it as well.’