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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 18:05 GMT
O'Sullivan seeking Masters focus
Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan could yet face punishment for his actions

BBC coverage starts Sunday, 14 January, 1330 BBC2

Ronnie O'Sullivan has admitted to fears about his form and focus ahead of the forthcoming Masters at Wembley Arena.

O'Sullivan walked out during his UK Championship quarter-final against Stephen Hendry in December in York and later cited personal problems.

He said: "I don't think I'm at my sharpest at the moment, but I could say that about the last year.

"I've got other things in my life now, and snooker has slipped down the pecking order in terms of my focus."

O'Sullivan met with World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker earlier this week for informal talks about his actions last month.

The two-time Masters winner said: "I can't reverse (what happened in) York, and what is done is done.

"Everything I did there felt right at the time. I had personal problems which upset me and my frame of mind.

Ronnie is an important part of snooker's future and accepts there are certain standards expected of him

World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker

"I have discussed those with Lee Doyle (his manager) and Sir Rodney and no-one else - and I don't intend saying anything else on the matter to anyone.

"What I will say is that if I ever feel the same way again, or I am ever in that position again, I would pull out of the match or the tournament in advance rather than be scrutinised the way I have been."

O'Sullivan, 31, who lost in last year's Masters final 10-9 to John Higgins, added he is determined to put his problems behind him at Wembley.

"I was gutted last year to lose in the final to John because I honestly thought I had it in the bag," he said.

"But it was one of these roller-coaster matches where you were up one minute down the next, but in the end John played really well to win it."

Doyle said he hopes snooker fans will be sympathetic towards O'Sullivan.

"I think we all appreciate that there are pressures attached to being a top-line sportsman," he said.

"But perhaps these are magnified in Ronnie's case especially when he is constantly told that snooker needs him - I think it's maybe time people also considered what needs Ronnie may have."

Walker welcomed his meeting with O'Sullivan and said: "He accepts there are certain standards expected of him.

"While I don't anticipate the future being without elements of the unexpected, I do look forward to Ronnie being part of that future."

SEE ALSO
Masters latest and order of play
12 Jan 07 |  Snooker
Hunter's widow in Masters appeal
12 Jan 07 |  Snooker
White appeals for Hunter tribute
10 Jan 07 |  Snooker
Rocket goes off again
14 Dec 06 |  Snooker


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