RONNIE O’Sullivan is taking a six-month break from snooker despite winning the 2012 Betfred.com World Championship final last night.
The “Rocket” blew away fellow Essex cueman Ali Carter with a stylish 18-11 win in Sheffield - and with victory in the sport’s gruelling best-of-35 frame final pocketed a handsome £250,000 top prize.
But after claiming his fourth world title, the 36-year-old stressed his family will always come first with an ever-expanding schedule making it harder and harder for the sport’s greatest entertainer to spend quality time with his children.
O’Sullivan celebrated his title win with his son Ronnie Junior, cuddling the four-year-old with his World Championship trophy.
“It’s the best feeling [to celebrate with my son], I didn’t think I’d ever get the opportunity to do that,” said O’Sullivan.
“It was so nice to have him here. He loves snooker. I’ve tried to turn him off a bit, but he’s having none of it.
“He loves watching the snooker. I got a bit emotional even before the match was over. It felt like me and him in the whole arena. I felt a massive buzz and connection between me and him.”
It was O’Sullivan’s fourth world title and his first since 2008 when, ironically, he beat the same opponent Carter 18-8 with a dominant performance at snooker’s spiritual home.
Not that O’Sullivan was any less dominant this time around, far from it, but this was a much measured performance this time around from a player often plagued by his mental demons on and off the table.
The triple world champion, who has been seeing the sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters to prolong his colourful career, never looked in any trouble as he remained firmly focused against Carter and honed in on an impressive fifth title of the season.
“If I were Manchester City I’d go and buy him,” admitted O’Sullivan. “I’d go ‘there’s your £3million a year and your signed mate!’
“He’s an expert scientist of how the brain works. I’ve never needed anyone to show me how to play snooker, but Steve helped me to understand that my brain is a machine. If you can manage it you can’t really do anything you want too.
“Deep down in my heart I’ve always loved playing snooker, but I just got wrapped up in it. I live and breath this game.
“But I wouldn’t have been playing if it hadn’t been for Steve. It’s been tough because I’ve had to face things I didn’t want to face, but once I faced them it felt better.
“Sometimes you want to run, but I’ve faced my problems - and this victory tops them all.”
O’Sullivan became the oldest Crucible winner for 34 years after Welshman Ray Reardon, then aged 45, won the title in 1978.
He added: “To do it at this age in my career is amazing. I never doubted I could win another title, but I probably didn’t know whether I’d win another world title. I’m over the moon.”
And the records continued to tumble as O’Sullivan clinched a 12th successive victory over Carter, his opponent still having never beaten him in professional play, as well as the 24th ranking title of his career.