World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has called a time-out on his snooker career in a dramatic move that casts doubt on whether he will play again.
The 36-year-old wrote to World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn to confirm what he told the veteran sports promoter in a telephone call last week: that his season is over before it has properly begun.
A short statement from the organisation announced: “World Snooker has been informed that Ronnie O’Sullivan does not intend to compete on the World Snooker tour for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.”
The precise reasons were not disclosed, although it is known O’Sullivan has battled depression and recently suffered badly with glandular fever. His manager, Django Fung, stressed there were a raft of causes for O’Sullivan deciding to step away from the sport.
O’Sullivan has played just one match in competition since landing his fourth world title at the Crucible on 7 May, losing to the then world No 76 Simon Bedford at a minor tournament staged in Gloucester at the start of September.
That may prove to be the last tour match the Chigwell maverick plays, but Hearn hopes not.
“It’s difficult to say. Ricky Hatton has come back after three years in the wilderness so you can never tell,” Hearn said.