Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Ronnie takes a break

Ronnie O'Sullivan made the headlines again today as he announced he will not play on the main tour again this season.

This means he will not play in the UK Championship or The Masters and, more crucially, he will not defend his world title at the Crucible.
Picture by Monique Limbos

His decision has been prompted by yet more personal issues and World Snooker released this official statement earlier.

As usual, Ronnie's decision has been greeted with criticism and cynicism but, in fact, it is probably the right one.

O'Sullivan's battle against glandular fever has been long and troublesome. His fight to win access to his children has allegedly not been easy either. Health and family life are things Ronnie values dearly.

And while snooker is not the cause of his problems, it certainly doesn't help.

So Ronnie has decided to take a break from the sport. He has given the it so much. He owes it nothing. He has won everything there is to win and has enough money to ensure a comfortable lifestyle. He has made a decision that will ultimately take off the pressure and make him a happier man. This deserves admiration.

O'Sullivan's absence will be a sore loss, make no mistake. His manager Django Fung alluded to the fact that he may never return to the game, but again this is a decision he should be allowed to make freely.

The severity of today's announcement may have shocked many but it puts an end to the 'will he or won't he withdraw' debate that arises before every ranking event. His intentions are clear and everyone knows where they stand.

Ronnie has won more in snooker than most ever will. Sure, many people believe he could have won even more, but his place as legend was secured long ago.

If he does choose to take his place back on the baize, he will be as popular as ever and welcomed with open arms. The challenge of having to fightback from potentially outside the top 32 of the world rankings may be the challenge he craves, or it could trigger him to call it a day.

What will Ronnie do next? Is this the end of an era?

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