Ronnie O'Sullivan has spoken about his unenviable run of five defeats in ranking event finals and made it clear that he will not try his 'nuts off' to battle on in lost causes.
The 45-year-old won his sixth World Championship title in 2020 with an 18-8 victory over Kyren Wilson, and he is aiming to replicate that feat in front of a capacity Crucible crowd this summer.
After that famous win over Wilson on the biggest stage in the sport, O’Sullivan has reached five ranking finals but has been beaten in all of them.
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His defeats in the showpiece matches at the Northern Ireland Open, Scottish Open, Welsh Open, Players Championship and Tour Championship have been chastening for the Rocket, but he is not prepared to push himself too much in pursuit of a gruelling win.
"I think two finals I played alright – the ones against Judd and against Jordan Brown – the other three I didn’t show up really," O’Sullivan told the Metro.
"I just wasn’t playing well enough to beat that type of opposition, who were playing very well.
"I probably could have made them three matches a bit closer if I’d dug in a bit more but if it’s not there, it’s not there, I’m not going to kill myself.
I got beat 10-4, okay, I’d have got beat 10-7 or 10-8 if I’d really tried my nuts off. I’m not prepared to try my nuts off to get beat 10-8. I’d rather try, but if it ain’t there then it wasn’t meant to be
"The snooker gods sometimes already know the destiny of what’s going to happen, I’d rather just allow that to develop. If I find a bit of form, great, if I don’t then an early exit is fine. Especially when there’s another tournament in a couple of days.
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"I’ve always said, if you want to be on the main tour you’ve got to be looking at a minimum of three quarter-finals in a year. If you can make three quarter-finals in a year you can justifiably say you’re a professional snooker player.
"If you can’t… That doesn’t have to be three quarters, it could be a semi and a last 16 in there, or a final, whatever. As long as you’re averaging that sort of performance then you can justifiably say you deserve to be a professional.
If you’re not then you have to ask yourself what you’re doing. Are you there just because you like the lifestyle, like playing snooker, what is it?
"For me, there’s a certain level I feel like I have to achieve to make it right with myself that I’m playing. Five finals has been great and I know that I was far from my best in the majority of them tournaments, so it gives you hope that there’s still a few more titles in there at some point."
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