Phil Haigh ✍️
Ronnie O’Sullivan feels he has underachieved in his snooker career and will always feel that way, despite widely being considered the greatest player to ever pick up a cue.
The Rocket won his seventh World Championship title this year, equalling Stephen Hendry’s record tally and largely ending the debate to which of the two is snooker’s GOAT.
At 46 years old O’Sullivan is back at the top of the world rankings and won his latest Crucible crown in some style, largely looking untroubled despite facing the likes of John Higgins and Judd Trump along the way.
His achievements on the table are immense, but he feels that there could and should have been more silverware in the cabinet over his epic career, having turned professional back in 1992.
This is not the Rocket whinging or getting down on himself, he describes himself as ‘comfortable’ with what he has achieved, but his mindset will never let him be fully satisfied.
‘I’m comfortable with what I’ve achieved in my sport. I’m up there, me and Hendry, it’s a debate, I’m happy to be in the debate,’ O’Sullivan told The Climb Podcast. ‘But I’m comfortable with the facts and what I’ve done over the years.
‘Whether I feel like I’ve done a good job or not, I don’t think I have, I feel like I could have done better, I feel like I’ve underachieved.
‘That will never change, but facts speak for themselves, I’m comfortable with getting out my piece of paper and saying: “That’s my CV, what do you reckon? Do I get the job?”
‘I’m comfortable that my results have allowed me to not worry about not playing well, not winning tournaments, getting beat in the quarters, people judging me.’
O’Sullivan has often felt that he needs to prove himself to people over his career, given the enormous expectation that has been on him since his teenage years, but he says that is no longer in his mind.
The legend of the baize feels he can now block out any comments on his performances or results from those who clearly don’t know what it is like to be in his shoes.
‘They don’t even know what it’s like to be where I’ve been, where I go,’ he continued. ‘It’s a very lonely place with people talking like they know what it’s like to be there, they couldn’t stand it for five minutes, they’d run a mile.
‘The pressure, the anxiety, the stress and expectations that come with it, it takes a lot more than just being talented.
‘It takes character, bollocks, courage, all sorts of things…dedication, discipline, challenging yourself, it takes you wanting to take yourself apart and build yourself back together.
‘That ain’t easy to do, but you’ve got to be willing to do that to be one of the most successful people at what you do.
‘So I don’t worry about what people say or think about me anymore, because they don’t know.’
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