Ronnie on cue for a change

Ronnie O'Sullivan (right) and Barry Hawkins at the Betfair World Championships final at the Crucible
Ronnie O'Sullivan (right) and Barry Hawkins at the Betfair World Championships final at the Crucible
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RONNIE O’Sullivan is ready to carve himself a career out as a property developer.

The easily bored ‘Rocket’ kicked off his final push for a fifth Crucible crown at the Betfair.com World Championship in Sheffield yesterday.

But win or lose against Barry Hawkins in the best-of-35 frame showcase, the green baize game’s box office star is ready to down his cue in favour of carving a career with bricks and mortar.

“My dream would probably be a property developer,” revealed O’Sullivan. “I love “Homes Under the Hammer.” I get excited by it.

“I’ve had a taste of it as well. I used to go around with a mate and we used to buy a lot of stuff.

“I used to go with him when we used to have that big break in the summer. I used to get really bored so he’d say: “Come with me, I’ll teach you the property game,” so I’ve got a rough idea about it.

“But obviously snooker was my game so I couldn’t really get too involved. This is what I do, but maybe now.”

Four-time world champion O’Sullivan is a clear favourite to win this year’s £250,000 first prize, with opponent Hawkins, the world No 14, given no hope by seven-time Crucible winner Stephen Hendry of stopping him.

And for the first time in a long time this year’s final was tipped to finish with a session to spare if the ‘Rocket’ roared.

But despite wiping the floor with the field after a 12-month break, O’Sullivan is ready to pack it in again.

“If I enjoy doing something then I don’t mind having my face on show, but I don’t want to do something just for the money for the celebrity status, like “Big Brother” or something like that,” added the Chigwell professional. “I love the show but putting myself through it, I couldn’t do it.

“I’ve been to a couple of property auctions. My mate said to me: “It’s a good day out. We’ll have a laugh.”

“I’ve never bought at one. Apparently Gary Neville goes to them. It was in London, a big one. It was out of my league. I don’t know how he does it really, he must be doing alright for himself.

“I know that I need an outlet from snooker. Snooker’s not going to go on for ever and having that year out made me realise that it was my job.

“I’ve got some good friends around me and they see what I go through and they want to help me set myself up so that I don’t have to rely on snooker so much.”

Opponent Hawkins’ progress to the final has almost gone unnoticed with O’Sullivan having hogged the headlines.

But the Ditton professional is delighted to have finally made his breakthrough on the big stage.

“It’s so tough when you can’t break through,” admitted Hawkins. “I was ranked in the top 32 and hovering around there, up and down around the mid 20s but after being there a few years. It’s not really what you’re looking for.

“You keep getting to venues and keep getting beaten by top players, not getting to the later stages. It’s tough. It knocks your confidence and can be quite depressing.

“I can understand a few of the other players saying they are depressed when they don’t get the results they want.

“It’s so tough but I just kept battling away and battling away. I thought it was time to go and see somebody, so I went to see [former world champion] Terry Griffiths. The opportunity was there and I’m so glad I did now, looking back. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”