Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he doesn’t care about being world No 1 – and that it means a lot more to those bidding to topple him from the summit. The Rocket is still ranked as the best player in the sport despite withdrawing from recent tournaments and taking no prize money from those events.
That offered closest rivals world champion Luca Brecel and Mark Allen the opportunity to overtake O’Sullivan at both the European Masters and British Open – but they exited early and blew the chance. However Brecel, like Allen trying to get there for the first time, has closed to within just £5,000 ahead of this week’s English Open in Essex.
O’Sullivan said: “Well, if I had cared about being world No1 I would have probably played in all of the events to try and keep the spot. I am not bothered. I have been No.1. It doesn’t mean anything. It did when I first got to No.1. I was really buzzing. But it doesn’t mean anything to me.
“Obviously, I get why Mark Allen and Luca Brecel really want to get to No.1 because if you haven’t been No.1, to get there is a massive achievement. A lot of the time I am quite flippant about my wins and what I have done in the game and I realise, what it is, is that I have had to go back 20-30 years and think about what it was like when I won the UK Championship in .
“I was over the moon when I won the UK. Win the UK now and I am like, that’s done, move on. I have to remind myself what it was like when I got to No.1 and it was one of the best feelings of my life.
“I don’t want to sound like I don’t appreciate this success but once you have done everything there is to do, you don’t really get excited by it. I still love the game. I still love competing. That is what inspires me to keep playing.”