Ronnie O’Sullivan Returns to Snooker to Defend World Title

Ronnie O’Sullivan said he’s returning to snooker and will defend his world title in the championship tournament that starts in April.

In November, O’Sullivan said he’d pull out of the sport for the rest of the season, indicating he’d miss the championship event that runs from April 20 to May 6 in Sheffield, England. He said he can make an impact at the tournament although he faces a “massive challenge.”

“I just thought it was time to come back, I got bored and had to get back to playing, winning or losing, and it shows how big a part of my life snooker is,” the 37-year-old Englishman told a televised news conference in London today. “I am used to being written off. I know how good I am and that I can do this.”

O’Sullivan, known as “the Rocket,” has played only one competitive match since winning his fourth world title last year. He didn’t disclose the reasons for stepping away from snooker in November, and his absence prompted talk that he might quit altogether. He’s frequently said he was considering giving up the game and has spoken of “a depression to do with snooker.”

He said he faces a difficult task in Sheffield because of lack of match practice.

“I‘ve played three or four exhibitions but I‘ve played 10 days in nine months,” O’Sullivan said today. “I‘ve potted lots of balls, but I’m match-rusty. I‘ve not played matches in tense situations and it’s going to be a tough call with no practice.”

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