Updated:11/20/2020 01: 34h
He has written cookbooks and several autobiographies. It has a showcase with 37 titles, among which six world championships stand out. And these are the ones Ronnie O’Sullivan shelled in the documentary “Joy of Six” that Eurosport premieres this Sunday, November 22 at 7.15pm, before the grand final of the Northern Ireland Open.
In reality, the life and sports work of the snooker player has what any good movie script might need: drama, comedy, moments of tension, days of wine and roses. Because in the light of the spotlight, Sullivan is one of the best snooker players in the world. But those same spots, a lot of money at a young age and personal problems, like his father accused of murder, are what have also caused him to spend his stints in rehab clinics. «I got into a lot of parties and a lot of alcohol. On the circuit there was already talk that ‘Ronnie has lost his essence, he is not the boy he was’. Alain Robidoux told me: ‘You have great talent and you are throwing it away. We were on a flight from Thailand. I looked at it and said, ‘this is fine. It’s the first time that some honesty has come to me, because people were talking about me, obviously, but nobody said anything to my face. And he was right, I wasn’t doing myself any favors and I needed direction. Once I stopped drinking, I was able to get back into shape, and focus only on snooker. I was sure I had what it took to be competitive». Putting on his shoes and going for a run was another of the activities that helped him get out of the well. And from there, to this summer of 2020, where it was crowned for the sixth time.
Already in the first World Cup, in 2001, he suffered the pressure that he was already “late” to this title with respect to other rivals. «I started having panic and anxiety attacks and was taking antidepressants right after my first round because, simply, I could not deal with all that », the player opens in the documentary.
Hence, he confessed that winning that first World Cup was a relief, a stone that was lifted. “Everyone was talking about how I should have won earlier than I did. John Higgins had won, Mark Williams had won. I hadn’t done it and the question was always “can he win it?”».
He does remember with joy, like the title of the documentary, his fourth World Cup, in which everything seemed to fit his game and his mentality. “He was the one who played the best from start to finish, without a doubt. I felt the ball hit, my movements were always the right ones. There were a lot of clean shots that gave me a lot of confidence.
From his personal life he confessed what he did during the sabbatical year that he took to disconnect from snooker. “I felt like I was getting lazy and wanted to do some volunteer work, so I could say no if I wanted to. But I do commit myself, I commit myself. Y I was on a farm taking care of pigs. I’ll tell the truth, it was hell! It was good because there was no pressure, but you had to be there with all the smell. I was there for six weeks.
From hell to heaven of the sixth world title, twenty years after the first and already held in Sheffield. “I enjoyed an event away from the circus and it was great. And the final was early in the evening. We were able to go back to the hotel and have a little party, which was one of the funniest nights of my life. A few close friends and by far one of the best celebrations. I’ve never laughed so much».