'The Rocket' is bidding to win the title for the eighth time in York, and he's off to a good start after beating Welsh veteran Matthew Stevens 6-2 on Monday in front of a raucous crowd at the Barbican Centre. O'Sullivan has already captured the Champion of Champions title this month, and in May equalled Stephen Hendry's record of seven World Championship victories.
But despite his stellar form, the world No 1 was in a strange mood post-match, telling reporters he failed to get excited by Triple Crown events anymore. O’Sullivan said: “I shouldn’t even be playing really by rights at my age if you look at Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry and those guys. So I don’t take it too seriously – I find it all quite funny really.
“I have a bit of an impostor syndrome. I felt happier when I had that run of losing five finals because that felt right. But when I started winning tournaments again I didn’t really feel I deserved it or played well enough. It felt like a plot to allow me to do it, and I felt like a fake.
“When I won the worlds again in May I didn’t feel great about it because it put me in that place again where I was questioning myself. It maybe is difficult to rest after the last world title – I am feeling flat to be honest with you and don’t want to play snooker at the moment. I don’t play much snooker, and really don’t care."
The all-time great has previously admitted to being in a "dark place" following his win at The Crucible, and says the prospect of a poor display - or a defeat - doesn't bother him: “I listen to my body and listen to my mind. I apply myself mentally well in matches, but whether I play good or bad I don’t really care," he added.
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“I could get beat 6-0 and still have a good time in York. I am under no pressure at all so every match is like practice even if it is not easy. I have made my way in such a way that this is so insignificant – it’s all a bonus."
His bizarre rant continued with him claiming even if he lost 10-0, he'd say ‘Lovely, shall we go for a drink?’. He also accused others of taking sport too seriously and said entering snooker arenas "doesn’t really get the juices flowing" anymore.
Only last month, the 46-year-old was fined after being caught by television cameras making rude gestures during a game. Despite protesting his innocence, he was ordered to pay a £2,000 fine and £2,000 in fixed costs .
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