Ronnie O'Sullivan unsure over defending world snooker title

Ronnie O'Sullivan believes he is "well equipped" to win more world titles, but cannot promise he will defend his crown after his fifth Crucible triumph.

'The Rocket' maintained his 100% record in finals at the Sheffield venue by beating Barry Hawkins 18-12.

"I can't say that I will be back next year because I enjoyed my year out," said the 37-year-old.

"Now I've got to enjoy one of the most amazing things I've ever done, retaining the World Championship."

We didn't know what to expect, whether he was going to be too rusty, and for mere mortals it might have been too much.

But Ronnie is the most amazing player we have ever seen in the game and I think we are all in awe of what he has produced.

He played snooker to another level. It is tough for others to live with if he is in any kind of mental shape.

He showed great temperament, stronger than we have ever seen before, and a side people doubted he had. He showed the ability under pressure to hold himself together.

Since the World Championship moved to the Crucible in 1977, O'Sullivan is only the third player, after Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, to successfully defend his crown.

"I'm well equipped to win more titles but it's not easy," he said. "There were times in this tournament when parts of my game weren't great.

"But, having worked with [sports psychiatrist] Steve Peters for the last two years, I was able to manage my emotions better than I ever have done, which got me through."

O'Sullivan had played one competitive match since winning his fourth world title last year. Last week he claimed he was ready to retire from snooker , although he later said he could not afford to quit .

After winning the title, he said he would play some less high-profile events before deciding whether to commit himself to the bigger tournaments next season.

"One good thing this tournament has done is get me a wildcard into the Masters," O'Sullivan said. "In many respects it's given me the chance to rebuild if I want to.

"I intend to play in some smaller events and, come December-January, I'll have a better idea what I want to be doing and whether my heart's still in it.

O'Sullivan wins fifth Crucible crown

"I just feel like I've done a job. It hasn't really sunk in. But for me it's been like a dream, Harry Potter stuff."

Defending champion O'Sullivan compiled a new record of six centuries in a Crucible final, surpassing seven-time champion Hendry's record of 127 tons at the Sheffield venue in the process to set a new mark of 131.

He beat Marcus Campbell, Ali Carter, Stuart Bingham and Judd Trump en route to the final, never losing a session at any stage of the championship.

"You have to face your demons during this tournament and that's why it's such a hard tournament to win," he said.

"In the final I had everything to lose and nothing to gain. People said it would be a procession, but everyone on the snooker circuit knows what a good player Barry is.

"He put me under a lot of pressure and I had to pull some big clearances out of the bag and on Monday night I had to come out all guns blazing.

"Last year was some of the best snooker I ever played. This year my long game was off and my safety wasn't as good as it was last year, probably because I haven't played in any events and had lost some ring-craft."

Multiple title winners since 1970

  • 7 - Stephen Hendry
  • 6 - Ray Reardon
  • 6 - Steve Davis
  • 5 - Ronnie O'Sullivan
  • 4 - John Higgins

Many former and current players now regard O'Sullivan as the greatest player to have played the game, but the five-time champion insists he is not deserving of such accolades.

"Stephen Hendry is still for me by far the greatest player, not just for his game but for his bottle," O'Sullivan added. "He was awesome.

"There will never be another Stephen Hendry. I'm more in the mould of Alex Higgins - we're too temperamental to be machines. I've tried to become more of a machine.

"I change like the British weather. I suppose I've got my little place in history.

"People go on about how I blew them away but I wish people could walk a few days in my shoes... it might come across as easy but I was digging deep out there - I wish I could feel what you're seeing."