The Rocket spoke before the tournament of wanting to win another Masters and World Championship title so he would have eight of each Triple Crown on his sparkling CV.
‘It was nice when I had 7, 7, 7, and now I’ve got 7, 7, 8. So it’d be nice to go 8, 8, 8 – the three eights,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
‘I suppose that’s the sort of motivational thing to try and get another Masters, try and maybe get another Worlds. I said I was happy with one World Championship, one UK, one Masters; over the moon.
‘So, when we start talking about going beyond that, I sort of just see everything as just a bonus really; a nice bit of icing on the cake. 8, 8, 8 – let’s go for it.’
Sure enough, he did win an eighth Masters title, beating Ali Carter 10-7 in Sunday’s final at Alexandra Palace, extending his own record for most wins of the invitational event.
However, ahead of the final, he admitted that he regretted what he had said before the tournament.
‘I wish I hadn’t mentioned that stupid eight, eight, eight,’ he said.
‘I am not even interested in it, but sometimes you feel you have got to say something. But really I’m not interested in numbers.’
Whether O’Sullivan is motivated by records or not, the attention will be on him at the World Championship as he has the chance to take his Triple Crown tally to eight, eight, eight and win all three majors in the same season for the first time in his career.
It would be an unbelievable achievement at 48 years old, but the Rocket says he would like to build up some more confidence in his game to have a good chance of managing it.
‘I always have a good idea around February, March whether my game’s in good enough shape to win the Worlds,’ he said. ‘At the moment I’d probably say it’s not good enough to feel confident of winning it.
‘I could still win it. But I’d like to go there with a bit of confidence. Longer sessions you have to learn to cruise and win most of your games in second gear, but at the moment I’m having to squeeze everything out just to get a result. Which is hard, but I’m a competitor so I’ll keep fighting.’
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