Ronnie O"Sullivan could quit snooker after pulling out of season

Are you serious this time, Ronnie O'Sullivan on verge of quitting snooker (again) after taking extended break

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UPDATED:

14:06 GMT, 6 November 2012

Ronnie O'Sullivan will not defend his world title next year after pulling out the rest of the snooker season – casting serious doubt over whether he will compete again.

The 36-year-old's career has been dogged by controversy and personal problems and it is believed a recurrence of his depression is a contributing factor to his decision.

O'Sullivan has repeatedly threatened to quit the sport and recently pulled out of The International Championship in China on medical grounds.

On a break: Ronnie O'Sullivan (left) is on the verge of quitting snooker after pulling out of the rest of the season

On a break: Ronnie O'Sullivan (left) is on the verge of quitting snooker after pulling out of the rest of the season

O'Sullivan's previous threats to quit

2005 – Said he would play truncated season

2010 – Row over 147 led to quit threat at World Open

2011 –

March – Hinted at retirement after China Open

December – Considered calling it a day after UK Championships

2012

April – Said World Championship could be his last

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: 'I have spoken to Ronnie and he has decided to withdraw from any events he has entered, and he will not be playing for the rest of this season. He has some personal issues which he needs to resolve and we wish him all the best for the future.'

The reigning world champion has slumped down the rankings to No 20, the first time he has been outside of the elite top 16 since entering it in the 1994/95 season.

In June, O'Sullivan refused to sign to sign the official players' contract, complaining that he did not want to be tied down at this stage of his career.

He relented two months later and returned to action at the Players Tour Championship in September where he was beaten by little-known Simon Bedford.

O'Sullivan has also come under fire from new world No 1 Judd Trump who claimed 'The Rocket' is no longer snooker's main man.

No return O'Sullivan has taken several breaks from snooker throughout his career

No return O'Sullivan has taken several breaks from snooker throughout his career

O'Sullivan has also come under fire from new world No 1 Judd Trump who claimed 'The Rocket' is no longer snooker's main man.

'I don’t think there is one main man any more in snooker as there was with Ronnie going back a few years,' Trump said. 'Anyone in the top 40 is good enough to win tournaments.

'There are too many good players — Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Mark Allen and many others.

'Even when Ronnie was at his best he wouldn’t have won anywhere near the titles he has in today’s game. The standard is so high these days.'