Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed he no longer desires the pressure of being snooker’s “top man” following confirmation he will not defend his Betway UK Championship title in York.
Three weeks ago it was announced O’Sullivan, who has not played an event on the tour since April, had not put himself forward to enter a competition that he has won five times.
The UK Championship will therefore begin this month without its enigmatic reigning champion, however O’Sullivan has expressed a desire to steer clear of the added demands of being one of the sport’s leading lights.
Writing a blog for Eurosport, he stressed he was keen to carry on playing but was enjoying time away from the spotlight.
“I’m trying different things at the moment,” the 39-year-old said.
“Anyone that’s coming to the end of their career has to think about the future, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past three or four years. I’ve been planning what my next 15-20 years will be, and how I’d like them to be.
“It’s been tough at times, but I truly feel I have a good idea of what it is I want.
“I don’t want the pressure of being the top man in snooker any more. I feel that should be left to the new generation of players. I do want a place within the sport, and I’m trying to fathom what that place is.
“It’s funny really. I’m actually enjoying my practice more then ever. I play for fun now. I still try to be the best I can be, but I don’t have to be so serious about being so committed to it.”