Even for the great man himself, the recent sustained success of Ronnie O’Sullivan has taken everyone a little by surprise.
The “Rocket” has long been heralded as the most gifted and naturally talented player the game has ever produced but, even so, O’Sullivan has rarely, if ever, demonstrated this kind of consistency.
Indeed, his World Grand Prix triumph last week represented his fourth ranking event title of a stellar season – the first time in his illustrious career that he has accomplished that feat.
And a triumph this weekend in the Welsh Open would see the 42 year-old equal the record of five ranking event victories in a single campaign already achieved by Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui, and Mark Selby.
For many years, O’Sullivan struggled with his inner demons and his enigmatic personality often threatened to implode, both in his private life and on the baize itself.
Finding a desperately needed release of energy in his frequent exercising, most notably running, has famously served as a necessary balancing act in the last number of years but it seems as though the Englishman has discovered a new obsession to sink his teeth into – a healthy diet.
If the last six months have provided O’Sullivan with arguably the best continuous form of his entire career, it can surely be at least partially attributed to the work he has done with a renowned nutritionist that also began in 2017.
The five-time world champion, who has risen back to number two in the world rankings behind Selby, has been following the advice of leading Harley Street Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, with the positive impact obvious for all to see.
Lambert, who has worked with other sports stars including footballer Cesc Fabregas and Paralympic gold medalist rower David Smith, is the author of Re-Nourish: A Simple Way to Eat Well and said of Ronnie: “He is now in the shape of his life.”
“I have been working with Ronnie for the past six months and we have focused on a healthy, balanced diet to optimise health for his mind and body. His success is largely down to his motivation to take nutrition and health seriously.”
Even though snooker wouldn’t be considered the most physical sport in the world, Lambert believes that a healthy lifestyle and improved diet will always improve a player’s performance, especially at the elite level where any extra percent gained can be the difference between winning and losing.
“Ultimately, eating well nourishes both your mind and body. There is countless research demonstrating nutrition’s link to improved mood, concentration, stamina, and energy.”
“Snooker requires a huge amount of concentration and stamina over the course of a single match, let alone for a whole week over the course of a competition, while the sport also relies on expert sight and a diet that keeps your whole body healthy will keep your eyes healthy too.
“Ronnie clearly has an unquestionable natural talent but, in a sport where he competes with players often half his age, he acknowledges that continued success and optimal function is significantly influenced by his diet and lifestyle.
“He has remarked that his energy levels have never been so high, largely owed to going back to basics – eating a wide variety of foods without restriction and enjoying three balanced meals, relying upon tupperware everywhere he goes.
“To any young player out there, don’t underestimate the effect your diet can have on your performance. Eating well consistently will ensure you give yourself the best possible chance to perform at your best.”
A healthy and successful Ronnie O’Sullivan plays old rival John Higgins in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open on Friday.
Live coverage will be on Eurosport.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)