UK Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan says limiting practice key in title defence

Ronnie O'Sullivan takes a shot
Thailand’s world number 32 Noppon Saengkham is Ronnie O'Sullivan's next opponent

Ronnie O'Sullivan says staying relaxed and limiting his practice is vital as he continues his quest for a record-extending eighth UK Championship title.

The 43-year-old has breezed through the first two rounds at the York Barbican, securing whitewash wins over and Ross Bulman and Tian Pengfei.

O'Sullivan, who faces Noppon Saengkham on Tuesday, said: "I only practise between six and 10 hours a week.

"I find that I don't need to do any more than that."

The world number two told BBC Sport: "I would probably be a little bit better if I did more but you have to value your time to the output and what you get out of it, and that works pretty well for me.

"I don't feel guilty. I have a few things going on which make this more of a hobby."

O'Sullivan is chasing a third successive title at the York Barbican.

But he said he would not be making any changes to his training regime as the tournament progresses.

"I play for passion rather than trying to play to pay for the bills," he said.

"My preparation doesn't change for any tournament. The key for me is diversifying myself so that if I come here and don't get a result I am not sitting at home watching it on TV waiting for the next tournament to come around."

He does admit being out on his own with a total of 19 wins in snooker's 'Big Three' of the World Championship, the UK Championship and the Masters gave him a buzz.

"It was a nice milestone to break an important record," he said. "There are lots of records but only a few important ones.

"I don't need other people's affirmation to put me alongside the likes of Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry because the facts speak for themselves."

O'Sullivan won the first of his record-equalling 36 ranking event titles at the 1993 UK Championship when he was 17 and will move ahead of Stephen Hendry with another success in York.

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