Ronnie O'Sullivan: My return to snooker is like a reality TV show

World Championship

  • Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
  • Date: 20 April-6 May

Coverage: Live on BBC Two, Red Button and online on BBC Sport website, mobile and BBC Sport app. Updates on BBC Radio 5 live

Ronnie O'Sullivan has compared his return to action at next week's World Snooker Championship to his own reality television programme.

The 37-year-old took a break from the game in November but decided to return and defend his world title.

But O'Sullivan is playing down his chances of winning another title at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre in the tournament, which starts on Saturday.

"It could be a car crash, it could be good, you just don't know," he said.

"I've never been one for doing Big Brother, but this is about as near as it gets. Who knows what will happen?"

O'Sullivan, who beat Ali Carter 18-11 in last year's final, will face Marcus Campbell in his opening-round match and although he has not competed in a tournament since triumphing at the Crucible 12 months ago, he is in a confident mood.

"There's a part of me that wants instant success," said the four-time champion. "That would be nice, but for me it's just about having fun.

Ronnie O'Sullivan factfile

  • Born: 5 December 1975
  • Made his first century break aged 10
  • Turned professional aged 16
  • Became youngest winner of a ranking tournament aged 17 at the 1993 UK Championship
  • Won first world title in 2001, beating John Higgins
  • Won world titles in 2004 and 2008
  • Won 2012 world title but on 6 November 2012 announced he was taking a break from the sport
  • On 23 February 2013 announced return

"To win would be a fairytale dream, but last year was my greatest performance. I'd had a good season and it was expected by pretty much everyone that I was going to win the tournament before it started.

"To me that is the ultimate achievement, because anything other than a win would've been seen as a failure in most people's eyes.

"If you look at it statistically I've done pretty well, but from my own perspective I feel like I've still underachieved," he added.

"I'd like to win another world title in my forties. I've not set myself the goal to win this year's world title because that would be a bit of a silly goal.

"I'd like to be a world champion when I'm 40. It gives me a bit of leeway. It's the long game I'm looking at, rather than just the short term. This is just the start."

O'Sullivan also admitted that his desire for focus, to lose weight and reconnect with friends were all factors in his decision to end his sabbatical.

"I felt it was time to have some sort of focus in my life," he said. "It's another challenge that I felt up for. At my stage of life it's about getting things to motivate me and this is something that interested me.

"Running was a massive part of my life and I found I got that lazy having nothing to do - I had too much time to even go and run in the end. I started putting weight on.

"I realised that snooker gave me an opportunity to meet some good people, to travel and that's kind of what I missed, the routine."

Having enjoyed such conspicuous success at the Crucible in the past, O'Sullivan says his experience can help him - but acknowledges nothing is guaranteed.

"You need to be consistent and flip through the gears," he explained. "Last year I had those gears and it was my best year because I felt so confident inside.

"I've been playing well in practice. If I win my first match and if I'm cueing all right and feeling all right then I should be a match for anyone.

"But who knows? The worlds is a one-off event and the form book goes out the window."