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O'Sullivan 'cannot equal' Hendry


O'Sullivan - I can't win seven

Ronnie O'Sullivan says he "lacks the passion" for snooker to go on and equal Stephen Hendry's seven world titles.

O'Sullivan is the reigning world champion, an honour he has earned three times, but he told Inside Sport: "I can't win seven, eight world titles.

"I don't feel like I've got the drive. I don't have the passion that it takes to be a (Michael) Schumacher, a Hendry - I am not going to be a slave to it."

O'Sullivan added he expected to retire from snooker in the next five years.

"I don't think I'll even be playing in five years, let alone winning another five world titles," he said.

I missed the ball, shook his hand and went, 'right, I'm off'. I still feel like it sometimes

Ronnie O'Sullivan on his 2006 walkout against Stephen Hendry
O'Sullivan, who turned 33 on Friday, is one of the most talented and controversial snooker players in the history of the game - but believes he should have been more successful.

"You look at the hard facts of what I've won, as a competitor - I believe that I have definitely underachieved," he said.

"I've done it my way if you like, it wasn't the conventional way, waste of a talent it might have been, but I've come out of it and I'm intact.

"I don't want to be a miserable man when I'm 45 and think, well, what was it all about? It's here and now that's important."

O'Sullivan told BBC Sport his infamous forfeited match against Stephen Hendry, in December 2006, had forced him to examine his relationship with the sport.

Hendry was awarded the match 9-1 when O'Sullivan, having missed a red at 4-1 down, shook his opponent's hand and walked out of the York venue.

O'Sullivan - My left hand's like my mistress

"It just got to the point with Stephen Hendry when I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, I don't want to be here playing. I just want to be out of here.

"I missed the ball, shook his hand and went, 'right, I'm off'. And that was it. And I got out - and I felt relieved. I felt relieved that I'd done it. To just get it out of there.

"Because if I'd gone through that match I would have been like it in the semis, like it in the final... I'd have been like it in the World final. It didn't matter where it was."

O'Sullivan added the demons of that day's walkout had never fully receded.

"I had to get a perspective on it. And it's been horrible to have to get a perspective on something that I used to love.

"It's like, why do I have to come to terms with getting a perspective on something I had so much passion for?

"I still feel like it sometimes, but I can't, because they'll slap me with a heavy fine - so obviously if I know I feel like that, I will have to pull out of tournaments."

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see also
O'Sullivan to miss Bahrain event
03 Nov 08 |  Snooker
Terrific Trump shocks O'Sullivan
17 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Walden stuns O'Sullivan in final
05 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Classy O'Sullivan wins NI Trophy
31 Aug 08 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan punished for comments
08 Jun 08 |  Snooker

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