Ronnie O'Sullivan
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Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘I felt like I was getting the yips’

Ronnie O’Sullivan is planning to work more closely with Steve Peters again as he continues his search for the perfect winning formula.

The Rocket reached his third Tour Championship final on Friday after prevailing from an entertaining encounter with Gary Wilson.

In front of a big crowd at the Manchester Central, O’Sullivan won the last three frames to beat his fellow Englishman 10-7.

O’Sullivan is one victory away from a sixth title of what has already been a prolific 2023/24 snooker campaign.

Ranking success has come in the UK Championship and the World Grand Prix, helping him to maintain his status as the sport’s world number one.

O’Sullivan has additionally secured silverware at three lucrative invitational events – the Masters, the Shanghai Masters, and the Riyadh Season World Masters.

Yet despite this sustained run of form, the 48 year-old has continued to battle with the mental side of the game.

“You never stop tinkering,” Ronnie O’Sullivan said in his post-match press conference.

“But I think I got so deep into the world that I just didn’t know how to get out of it in the end. I kind of felt like I was getting the yips.”

“I felt like I was stabbing at the ball. In the end, I was getting scared to go out and play.

“I was alright in practice because no one was watching, but doing exhibitions and coming to play in major tournaments…the little tournaments are not so bad.

“But when you’re playing in the big events and the big matches – like tonight and the atmosphere is like that – there’s quite a lot of pressure out there.

“You get tight, and you sometimes feel like you can’t get your cue through. I think I kind of just got myself into a bad place.

“It’s a bit like an alcoholic goes to rehab to detox for a month and then goes to meetings and gradually gets well.

“I’ve always used the Steve Peters method at times. The first two or three years, I was on it every day, and my performances and everything was tight. I was just on point.

“Then I just kind of thought I wanted to freestyle it a bit – use a bit of [Ray] Reardon, use a bit of Steve Peters, and then just use nothing but just my instinct.

“It doesn’t always work. I was still a top eight player, but if you want to be the complete all-round player, you’ve got to incorporate all the facets.

“For me, I think I’m going to give myself ’til the 2025 World Championship to really work close with Steve Peters and see if I can come at it from a different angle.

“Basically get the mind right to cope with maybe not playing great snooker all the time, but in doing that hopefully the good snooker will come more.

“I think if I can clear my mind, accept certain things, and not be so hard on myself, maybe I’ll allow myself to play more instinctively.”

O’Sullivan has the luxury of a day off on Saturday as the other Tour Championship semi-final between Mark Allen and Mark Williams takes place.


2024 Tour Championship Draw

Round of 12

Mark Williams (8) 10-9 Tom Ford (9)

Mark Allen (5) 10-7 John Higgins (12)

Gary Wilson (6) 10-8 Mark Selby (11)

Barry Hawkins (7) 8-10 Ali Carter (10)

Quarter-Finals

Judd Trump (1) 4-10 Mark Williams (8)

Ding Junhui (4) 8-10 Mark Allen (5)

Zhang Anda (3) 8-10 Gary Wilson (6)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-2 Ali Carter (10)

Semi-Finals

Mark Williams (8) 10-5 Mark Allen (5)

Gary Wilson (6) 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Final (bo19).

Mark Williams (8) 10-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)


Featured photo credit: WST

3 Comments

  1. Lynn Marsden

    So good to see and hear some of the players, commentators and presenters, covering more of the snooker, before the big one at the crucible.

    The deep knowledge from those who have either actually played the game, or done the research, is so good to see and appreciate.

  2. Jay Brannon

    O’Sullivan matching Neil Robertson’s record of three Tour Championship final appearances.

    Martin Gould sadly now drops off the tour given his withdrawal from the World Championship qualifiers. World Snooker might consider giving him an invitational tour card given health issues have been a big factor in his relegation.

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