Ronnie O’Sullivan said he no longer feels “trapped in a prison” and played down retirement talk after a dazzling 6-0 first-round win over Boonyarit Keattikun at the Betway UK Championship in York.
The 40-year-old is looking for the 29th ranking title of his career and started in emphatic fashion after needing just 56 minutes to complete a whitewash victory over an overwhelmed Thai opponent.
Hours before the match, O’Sullivan tweeted that God had told him to give up the sport, but the five-time world champion later had a positive response for his fans.
He said: “I have conversations with God and he said to me, ‘Jack snooker in mate, you’re better off as a pundit’ and I was like, ‘Hold on, we will have to have a proper conversation about that’.
“It’s not my last tournament until God puts his foot down, he is the boss and I don’t want to take liberties with him.”
The five-time UK champion made three centuries during the match and revealed he is enjoying juggling his snooker with commitments away from the table.
“This is like a bit of a hobby. Getting my cue out is a bit of a pleasure whereas before, when that’s all I had to do, I felt I was trapped in a prison. Now I feel like it’s a bit exciting and I treat it as a bit of fun,” he added.
“My proper job is my punditry and doing all my other bits – that’s my salary but this is a bit of a bonus now.”
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Open winner Mark King was docked a frame after forgetting his cue following the interval and arriving back late for the resumption of his first-round match against Sam Craigie.
“The logo on my waistcoat stuck to my cue and I went to the office to get it sewn on. I had my tea and a banana but in a daze and I left my cue in there.
“In three days I’ve done two things I’d never done before. One was to win an event and two was to get docked a frame.”