World Snooker has released the following statement concerning Ronnie O’Sullivan:
World Snooker has been informed that Ronnie O’Sullivan does not intend to compete on the World Snooker Tour for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.
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.”
O’Sullivan has been the centre of speculation for the majority of his career – all the way back to when he won the UK Championship at 17 and first proclaimed that he was going to quit the sport.
These statements multiplied throughout the years and became somewhat of an insider joke to fans and critics who knew all too well that his threats would fall flat.
However, there was something more resounding, conclusive and assuring in the manner in which he dispelled these thoughts once again back in April prior to his fourth World Championship crown.
Where in the past the ‘Rocket’ could have been labelled as a sufferer of depression and unable to make the necessary long-term commitments that he ought to stick to, this time the promises were coming from a place and soul at lot more at rest with himself – or at least appearing to be.
Ronnie will probably always have personal problems but it seemed that snooker had its final days of being his comfort blanket.
His spectacular and dominant triumph in the Crucible in May could now realistically be his final farewell.
Ronnie had initially planned to return for the International Championship last week following a six-month hiatus but the old last-minute withdrawal came right on cue and now this statement appears to seal his fate for at least the rest of this campaign.
Thereafter, who knows if he’ll make a return to the sport that he has given so much to but I for one certainly hope he does.
His to and fro antics are frustrating, but he is his own man and deserves to have the right to choose the correct path in life.
In simple snooker terms, he will be sorely missed because he is undoubtedly the most naturally gifted talent the game has ever produced.
Snooker is healthy at the moment; the likes of Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Ding Junhui testify to that.
There used to always be a question of whether snooker needed Ronnie O’Sullivan. Well, snooker doesn’t need him. But it will miss him.