Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan is now a seven-time world champion.
And at the 2022 World Snooker Championships, Ronnie’s dad, Ronnie Sr, was sat in the crowd at the Crucible.
Speaking to Eurosport, Ronnie Jr said it was ‘just lovely’ to have his dad and children by his side – particularly as his father was ‘in a cell on his own’ during his first world title win.
But who is Ronnie O’Sullivan Sr, and why was he incarcerated?
Ronnie O’Sullivan shares a name with his dad – who is known as Ronnie Sr.
Ronnie Sr and wife Maria had Ronnie Jr in 1975 in the West Midlands town of Wordsley, before raising their son (and younger daughter Danielle) in Chigwell, Essex.
Though the family lived in Essex, Ronnie Sr owned a chain of sex shops in London’s Soho.
In 1992, Ronnie Sr was sentenced to life in prison – convicted of murder for stabbing father-of-two Bruce Bryan in a Chelsea nightclub.
The younger Ronnie was 16 at the time, while sister Danielle was around eight years old.
Ronnie Jr frequently cites his father as a mentor and inspiration for his snooker career – which began when he was seven, saw him win amateur competitions from age nine, and turned professional at 16.
It was in 1993, aged 17, that Ronnie Jr won his first UK Championship, and he won a few tournaments in the following years – but he would not go on to win the World Snooker Championships until 2001.
He told Eurosport that, had his father not been jailed, he felt could have won more championships.
Ronnie Jr said: ‘My dad was away and when he went away it took me a year for me to get my head around accepting that he wasn’t going to be around.
‘He was a big driving force behind me, he kept me on the straight and narrow. To not have him there was tough, it was teamwork, When I won that tournament I devoted that win to him and if I never won another tournament it would be fine.
‘I think it would have been a lot different [with his father around]. I think I’d have won the World Championships a lot earlier and won plenty more tournaments. Absolutely 100% it would have been different.
‘I certainly would have enjoyed my career a lot more having him around than not having him around.’
Ronnie Sr was released from prison in 2010, having served 18 years, returning to the family home in Essex.
In a statement published by the BBC at the time, Ronnie Jr said of his father’s release: ‘I am delighted to be reunited with my dad after so long.
‘He has repeatedly expressed how sorry he is to the victim’s family and to the authorities.
‘My dad now wishes to readjust to a world which has changed dramatically since he went to prison… He wishes to do that quietly, privately and as a man who is deeply sorry about the circumstances and hurt caused and which led to his imprisonment.’
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