Seven-time world champ Ronnie O'Sullivan: "I don't know much about snooker"

Ronnie O'Sullivan is taking a fresh approach to his quest for an eighth World Championship crown, claiming he "doesn't know much" about the game despite winning 41 ranking titles.  The 48-year-old has teamed up with a former coach because he believes he still hasn't mastered the sport.

O'Sullivan has dominated snooker for more than two decades with 41 ranking tournament triumphs and 1,260 century breaks. He won his first world title in 2001 and is bidding for his third in five years at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.

However, O'Sullivan has teamed up with former coach Nic Barrow to try to improve his game. He opens up in Sheffield on Wednesday against qualifier Jackson Page in the first round of the World Championship.

O'Sullivan told reporters on Friday, as quoted by AFP, "I've been trying to think about what I want to do for the next five to years. I've been working with a coach and we've been doing a lot of testing in a way. I've realised I don't know much about snooker."

O'Sullivan has won 41 ranking tournaments including seven world titles. GETTY IMAGES
O'Sullivan has won 41 ranking tournaments including seven world titles. GETTY IMAGES

He continued, "I thought I did. I know how to put a ball in a hole. I know how to compete and win, and I have an idea of what needs to happen. I know that I have to get that piece of wood and I have to get that ball and if I do that, that should happen. But I haven't been as efficient in the last few years and I just tried to accept that I needed a little help. So I went back to a coach who worked with my old coach and I'm going through the things that worked for me."

Barrow is a veteran of the world snooker circuit and runs a training programme - 'The Snooker Gym' - which promises to "help frustrated fans with any diagnostic problems".

While O'Sullivan is far from a frustrated fan, the colourful and controversial star is unhappy with his form despite heading to Sheffield as world number one. After winning an eighth Masters title and the World Grand Prix earlier this year, he went down to Mark Williams in the final of the Tour Championship two weeks ago. Having announced his possible retirement several times in the past, 'The Rocket' now says he wants to make changes to ensure his longevity.

"I like to win and I've got another five to 10 years, and I've got to enjoy the work that I'm doing," he reflected. "I know I've won tournaments but winning and playing to a certain standard don't always match up. I've played a lot better and not won anything all season.

"It doesn't really make sense but I haven't really enjoyed it, I've just been struggling to get through the ball smoothly. Being happy with the game is what it's all about, or if that's not the case, I've got to get around not playing well and accept it, but I'm not good at accepting it."