Ronnie O'Sullivan makes U-turn on full-time return after sixth world title

Ronnie O’Sullivan looks like he will stick to his reduced schedule of tournaments next season after winning his sixth World Championship title on Sunday night.

The Rocket downed Kyren Wilson 18-8 at the Crucible to claim the richest prize in the game, pocketing £500,000 and going one world title away from Stephen Hendry’s record of seven.

Before the tournament, the 44-year-old had made plans to play in every event over the next couple of years, putting an end to his schedule in recent seasons that has seen him play just a handful of tournaments.

‘I do think for the next two years I might just focus and play in every event I can possibly play in,’ O’Sullivan said on Instagram. ‘Give it one last shot and see if I can get my game to a level where I’m confident of winning.’

However, it appears that Crucible success may have fulfilled that goal already, and while he fancies a few more events in China, we may not see the Rocket more regularly in the UK.

‘I think the key is to play more tournaments in China because coming towards the end of my career and that’s a great place to ply your trade,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport.

‘I won’t be playing any more, I want that home balance.

‘I play snooker because I choose to, not because I have to and it’s important that I just play it when I feel like it really.’

The Rocket is hoping that being world champion means he doesn’t have to qualify for tournaments overseas, but that is not necessarily the case.

Although, what is often the case with the biggest names in tournaments is that they will play their qualifying round at the venue abroad, rather than having to go to somewhere like Barnsley to contest that stage of the event. This was the case at the 2019 World Open when O’Sullivan went all the way to Yushan and lost to Dominic Dale in qualifying.

‘I don’t know if this means I don’t have to qualify for the overseas events, so if I don’t have to qualify I’ll probably play more overseas events,’ said the Rocket.

‘The big tournaments are in China, I love going to China, I just don’t want to go to Barnsley to get through the qualifiers.

‘I haven’t been number one, I haven’t been world champion, so I haven’t played in those tournaments for a while.

‘I’ll try and play the European Tour and throw in a few Milton Keynes if I feel like it, it depends what the protocols are. I don’t want to be stuck in a room for 24 hours because of COVID.

‘I can pick and choose, I’ve got a few things that I want to explore now, other things I’m enjoying doing, so we’ll wait and see.’

The 2020/21 season begins on 13 September with the Championship League in Milton Keynes, whether we will see the Rocket land at the Marshall Arena or not is yet to be seen.

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