RONNIE O’SULLIVAN says he now treats snooker like a “holiday” — and reckons he will be retired by the age of 50.
But the Rocket, 45, intends to keep himself so fit and agile into old age that he could still be knocking in balls when he is 90!
The six-time world title winner is preparing for the UK Championship — which starts today in York — a tournament he has triumphed in a record seven times.
Though he won the most recent of his world crowns in August 2020, O’Sullivan’s table time is dwindling as he immerses himself in other hobbies off the baize.
There is his ongoing TV punditry with Eurosport, various sponsorship and commercial deals, corporate gigs and exhibitions, plus a new snooker academy opening in Singapore.
O’Sullivan, who turns 46 on the day of the UK final on December 5, told SunSport: “I switched off a long time ago.
“I see myself as a pundit first. I’ve got my property company. I do a lot of stuff in an ambassadorial role as a face for companies. I see that as my main job now.
“I don’t really see myself as a snooker player any more. It’s counter-productive in many ways. Financially and time-wise, it doesn’t make sense. But I still want it in my life, if only for fun purposes.
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“If I had to choose between playing snooker and being a pundit or TV personality or doing exhibitions, snooker would be the first thing to go.
“I’ve kind of given myself another three world championships — I’ve set a goal to complete that.
“It’s probably making me play a little bit longer than I wanted. That’s a psychology trick played on myself in many ways.
“Snooker is a platform, something I enjoy, have fun with it. I refuse to take it seriously.
“There’s no holiday that can compare to it. I get to stay in nice hotels, I play snooker and, if that doesn’t go very well, I then go on Eurosport and watch the snooker and spend time with Jimmy White.
“As long as there are snooker tournaments and snooker tables, I can go on holiday, treat it like a holiday. It’s all good for me.”
O’Sullivan faces Welshman Michael White in the first round tomorrow as crowds return to the Barbican after last year’s shutout. The Essex potter denies claims he has lost his mojo, despite losing all five ranking finals he has reached this season.
But he admits his exercise regime of long-distance running, yoga and Pilates might have some effect on his concentration levels at the table.
O’Sullivan said: “I could play snooker until I am probably 90! I just couldn’t do it for a job.
“In terms of running, you’ve got more chance of catching me over the forest and less chance in the streets.
“Fitness, health, wellbeing, eating well… you get one body so use it as efficiently as you can.
“In some ways when I run and exercise, it’s a negative for my snooker as I’m a bit tired to hold my cue!”
STREAM the UK Championship LIVE on discovery+ and the Eurosport app from today.