Ronnie O'Sullivan attributes mental health for victory over Ding Junhui
- Credit: PA
Reigning world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan says his physical and mental health is the reason for a stunning first-round comeback win over Ding Junhui at the Masters in Milton Keynes.
Having trailed 3-1 at the mid-session interval, the 45-year-old looked down and out 5-3 behind in the best-of-11 encounter at the Marshall Arena, where the second Triple Crown event of the season is being held.
But the Rocket – who has 37 ranking event titles to his name in addition to seven Masters wins – responded by claiming the match’s final three frames with two half-centuries in a row, to eventually prevail 6-5.
After booking his spot in the invitational event’s quarter-finals, O’Sullivan explained he is feeling the benefit of upping his jogging mileage, which he enjoys balancing alongside his snooker commitments.
“I’m probably the fittest I’ve been for ten years,” said O’Sullivan, the world No.3. “I’m running 45 miles a week at the moment, and I’m more excited about that than anything else, really.
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“I’m trying to get up to 60 miles a week if I can, while potting a few balls and enjoying the snooker. It was nice to pot a few balls today and get the result.
“When it’s not going your way in a big match, you’ve just got to suck it up sometimes. I never doubt my ability to stick in there – I’m Premier League in the mentality department.
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“I thought my temperament at the World Championships was first class, and that’s what won me the tournament. I’ll need to do that again if I’m to win here or at any other tournament.”
Despite Judd Trump being absent from the tournament and the fact the likes of Neil Robertson and Mark Selby have already fallen in Buckinghamshire, O’Sullivan isn’t expecting an easy ride in the Masters’ latter stages.
But having committed a considerable number of hours to the practice table amidst the coronavirus pandemic, he is hopeful he will start to reap the rewards over the coming weeks and months.
O’Sullivan added: “I don’t pay a lot of attention to who goes out and when. It never works out how it’s supposed to - that’s just sport.
“It’s getting harder to win tournaments now because there are a lot of players in their prime. I’m just going to take each round as it comes and I’m delighted to still be in the draw.
“There’s not been a lot else to do recently so I’ve been on the practice table for six hours a day religiously for three weeks. If it doesn’t come off at this tournament hopefully it will do at another one soon.”
Watch the London Masters live on Eurosport and Eurosport app.