Take me out of snooker and I couldn't do life: O'Sullivan speaks out about quit threat
12:33 GMT, 7 November 2012
Ronnie O’Sullivan has hinted his sabbatical from snooker could mean 'the chapter’s over'.
O’Sullivan announced on Tuesday that he will not compete again this season, a move attributed by his manager Django Fung to 'Ronnie's own personal problems, his health, travelling, children, family and so on' and one which casts doubt on whether he will be seen on the tour again.
On a break: Ronnie O'Sullivan is on the verge of quitting snooker after pulling out of the rest of the season
SPEAKING OUT ABOUT DEPRESSION
Rugby star Toby Flood: 'It made me ask myself if it was something I really wanted to do. I was very disillusioned. I wasn't enjoying my rugby, my form dipped and, looking back, it was pretty scary.'
Boxer Ricky Hatton: 'I was near to a nervous breakdown, depression, suicidal. Most mornings my girlfriend would have to come downstairs and take a knife out of my hand. I had a knife at my wrists, I was in a really bad way, just hysterically crying for no reason.
Everton striker Victor Anichebe: 'There were plenty of times when I was at a low ebb. To come back after 12 months, get injured again, and then again, I began to ask whether it was worth it. It's hard for people to know what really understand what it is like being injured. It is not just physical, it is mental too.'
Golfer Paul Lawrie: 'I had no energy and didn't want to play or practise. I couldn't get out of bed. I didn't want to be with the kids. I didn't even want to see them. I went through tablets without feeling any more positive. I'd just lie on the couch and watch television.'
Cricketter Tim Ambrose: 'I was awake 24 hours a day, with things going around in my head' he said. 'I was beyond miserable. It felt like I had this duvet that was soaking wet wrapped around me, and I couldn't get it off.'
And speaking on Ronnie O'Sullivan:
Sports Life Stories, a pre-recorded documentary broadcast on ITV4, the
four-time world champion gave an insight into the emotional difficulties
he has suffered during his career.
'The most important thing, the
biggest love of my life, is my snooker,' he said. 'I've never been so
emotionally ingrained in something – in a person, an object, anything –
as I have in snooker.
'I don’t think I suffered with
depression, I don’t think I’m a depressed type of person – I just think I
suffered a depression to do with snooker, and I just couldn’t handle
'I could go out and play, but take me
out of there and I couldn’t do life.
'It was a nightmare, my life just
felt like a bit of a nightmare.'
The problems came to a head in 2001, ahead of his first World Championship win.
'A week before that World
Championship, I was down the doctor's,' he said. 'Then I was in my room
in Sheffield and they said “can you do a radio interview” I felt so
brittle – I said yes, but I thought “how am I going to get through this,
and not let them know that I'm suffering”
'I was blabbering on, spurting words
out, and it was live but I just said, “do you know what, I ain’t feeling
too good. I’m suffering here, talking to you – I’m struggling”.
'I just thought, ‘I can’t hide any more’. I felt like I was going insane.'
No return O'Sullivan has taken several breaks from snooker throughout his career
The 36-year-old’s career has been peppered with regular threats to retire in recent years, but
O’Sullivan admitted he was driven to continue by the pride of his
father, who remained a key influence on his son’s career even while
spending 17 years in prison for murder.
'I talked about letting go of it but I
just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t walk away because I hadn’t achieved
what I wanted to,' O’Sullivan said. 'I knew if I stopped the snooker, a
lot of my demons would be gone, but I couldn’t walk away.
'My dad said “every time I see you on
the telly, it’s like a visit”. And he had 10 years left, so I had to
play for at least another 10 years. I wanted to walk away, but there was
that pressure there of trying to do the right thing for somebody else.'
Reflecting on a career which has
brought him four UK and four World Championships among 24 ranking
titles, he said: 'I’ve got through it – that’s all I’ve done really.
'All right, I've been successful –
I’ve ticked the boxes, I’ve won the world titles, won this, won that,
become a multiple world champion.'
The most recent of those came in May
of this year and, recalling the win and the emotional celebrations with
his son Ronnie Jr, he said: 'For me that’s like the final chapter. I’ve
done what I’ve had to do. I don’t have to prove myself any more.
'The more they doubt me, the more
it’ll make me want to come back and prove them wrong again, and I don’t
want to have to go through it again. I’ve done it. The chapter’s over.'