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Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ronnie O'Sullivan set to sacrifice ranking for family

Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan is second on the all-time prize money list behind Hendry

UK Snooker Championship
Venue: Telford International Centre Date: 4-12 December
Coverage: Live action and highlights on BBC Two and BBC Red Button; updates and reports on BBC Radio 5 live and this website


Ronnie O'Sullivan has told the BBC that he will continue to miss snooker events in order to spend time with his family - even if he drops down the rankings.

The three-time world champion, 34, did not defend his Shanghai crown in September for that same reason.

"I'm a single parent and I'm not going to be taking them around the world to events to win ranking points," he told BBC Radio 5 live in a frank interview.

"I might slide down the rankings but at least I will have peace of mind."

He added that as a result of a court judgement involving his former partner in the past year, he made the decision to sacrifice playing in some events for his children Lily and Ronnie.

606: DEBATE

"If I had an understanding ex-missus [girlfriend] then it may have been different [regarding playing in tournaments] but she said I have to have the kids a during certain periods," added the player nicknamed The Rocket.

But speaking ahead of the UK Championship in Telford, which begins on 4 December, the current world number eight said the he was now "content" after what he has described as a difficult period.

"It has been stressful and it has cost a lot of money," he continued.

"It didn't seem fair but that's the way the system is and I fought for a year to see my kids - fought so hard. They stay Friday, Saturday and Sunday with me and then I drop them off.

"If you have children then you know the love you have for children - it's much stronger than a game of snooker, so I'm pretty content."

And regarding his current world ranking, the former world number one remained philosophical.

"I'm not bothered by rankings," he added. "I've won the world title three times, four Masters titles and four UKs. If it all ended tomorrow, I'll know I've had a great career."

With his father having been released from prison recently and practice sessions going well, O'Sullivan said he is mentally prepared to challenge for what would be a fifth UK title.

"I've had four fantastic wins," said the Essex player.

"It's where my career started off. I beat Stephen Hendry in 1993 to win my first UK and ranking title. No-one had heard of me - I was only 17. I'll always have great memories of the UK."



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see also
O'Sullivan scoops Premier crown
30 Nov 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan thumbs-up for Telford
22 Nov 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan romps to UK final win
16 Dec 07 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan's father leaves jail
19 Nov 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan reflects on career
12 Jan 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan wins with cheeky 147
20 Sep 10 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker


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