Ronnie O'Sullivan says he will not be retiring after World Championship exit

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre
Barry Hearn and Ronnie O'Sullivan
Five-time champion O'Sullivan last won at the Crucible in 2013

Ronnie O'Sullivan says he has no intention of retiring and does not care if he fails to win another World Championship.

The 41-year-old, a five-time winner at the Crucible, was beaten 13-10 by Ding Junhui in a captivating quarter-final.

O'Sullivan was "disappointed" to lose but insisted he enjoyed the tournament and playing in a "fantastic match".

He said: "I love what I do so why would I not do it? The real love is getting your cue out of the case."

But O'Sullivan's season and tournament have been characterised by controversy.

Watch O'Sullivan's emotional news conference after first round

Following his first-round win over Gary Wilson, he claimed to have been bullied by snooker bosses, an accusation strongly denied by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

O'Sullivan's gripes with the sport's authorities date back to January when he publicly criticised a referee and swore at a photographer during the Masters.

That Masters victory was the only tournament win for O'Sullivan this season, although he has made three ranking event finals.

At the Crucible, only Steve Davis, a six-time world champion, and Stephen Hendry, a seven-time winner, have more titles.

And one more ranking-event success would also see him move second on the all-time list with 29, seven behind Hendry.

He said: "I have had the best year of my life and have not won many tournaments, and I think 'how does that relate?'

"But I have never been one for chasing records and I won't stop playing because I am not winning tournaments. I will keep playing because I love playing."

The continued growth of the game in the Far East has also presented O'Sullivan with more opportunities.

"I do a lot of exhibitions," he added. "I like to entertain and put on a good show and I like to enjoy myself. In a world where everything is so serious I like to make it fun.

"China has great offers coming through. I hope to spend a lot of time playing in events. I see myself spending more time in China than I do here."

Meanwhile, Hearn - who said O'Sullivan's claims of "bullying and intimidating" were words that were "alien" to him - announced an increase in tour prize money for next season, going up up £12m from the current £10m, with an aim to reach the £20m mark.

The winner of the 2017 World Championship will receive £375,000. That will rise to £425,000 in 2018 and £500,000 the following year.

Hearn also said entry fees for playing in ranking tournaments would be abolished for tour players.

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