O'Sullivan hails lockdown as 'best three months for a long time'

O'Sullivan is gearing up for a tilt at a sixth Betfred World Championship triumph at the Crucible

Ronnie O’Sullivan says lockdown has been the ‘best three months’ he’s had for 'a long time’, writes Will Jennings.

The Rocket has been spending his time during the snooker lay-off in various ways from his Essex home, running, cooking and watching Netflix as the countdown to this year’s Betfred World Championship intensifies.

O’Sullivan says the break has enabled him to rediscover his passion for running, subordinating the importance of snooker and enabling him to re-evaluate life’s priorities as he enters the twilight of his career.

That positive outlook has been embodied in O’Sullivan’s TV consumption and the world No.6 has relished keeping things simple when he tunes into the box.

“I’d probably say it’s been the best three months I’ve had in a long time, it really has!” the 44-year-old said.

“I’ve watched a lot of stuff on Netflix, and I’ve turned my Sky off because I didn’t want too many channels to choose from!

“I just went to the freeview channels while in lockdown because I find sometimes, you’ve got so much choice you end up just flicking through them and you don’t really give anything a chance.

“I thought if you minimise the amount of channels I’ve got to make the most of it - surely there’s one channel out of 30 that I’m going to enjoy!”

O’Sullivan is gearing up for a tilt at a sixth World Championship title, having not progressed past the quarter-finals at the Crucible since 2014 and enduring a mixed season on the circuit.

The Rocket could only muster an 18th-place ranking in the one-year calendar and therefore missed out on qualifying for the recent Tour Championship, also crashing out of the Championship League after a 3-0 defeat to world No. 14 Stuart Bingham.

O’Sullivan has sought to broaden his horizons in lockdown, however, as he reaches the end of a glittering stint at the highest level that has seen him romp to 36 ranking event titles.

And he’s loved letting off some steam to keep his mind healthy at a time that poses challenges for us all.

“I’ve not really [picked up any new hobbies in lockdown] - I try and keep my life pretty simple,” he added.

“I’ve been getting into a lot of podcasts and really enjoying them, which have been fantastic - running podcasts and a lot of business podcasts.

“Little things like that just trying to keep my mind healthy, in what’s a situation that can be quite harmful for you given what we’ve all found ourselves in.”

Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship and qualifying from 21st July – 16th August.