Ronnie O’Sullivan admitted he is currently going through the motions and playing like a ‘donkey’ but revealed he will struggle to walk away from the sport while still winning.
O’Sullivan edged through to the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix in Leicester on Thursday with a nervy 4-3 win over Zhou Yuelong.
The victory continues the Rocket’s spectacular recent form having become the oldest winner of the UK Championship and the Masters in recent months.
However, the 48-year-old has cast fresh doubt on his future in the sport in a frank interview with ITV where he admitted he is getting no satisfaction from competing.
‘I’ve got to really consider whether I can continue feeling how I’m feeling out there. I just don’t get any enjoyment from the way I’m hitting the ball,’ he said.
‘It’s just hard work, and I haven’t a clue where the balls are going. It is just guesswork. And it is a struggle.
‘The worst thing is you are winning bloody tournaments. If I was getting pumped first round every match, it would be an easy decision to make. I’m getting no enjoyment out of it to be honest with you.’
O’Sullivan, who is set to take a break following the Grand Prix, continued his lament, claiming he wants players to put him ‘out of his misery’ in matches so he can leave early in tournaments.
‘I do find it a real struggle. I feel like I’m going through the motions a lot of the time. I’d have been really happy to have got beat there so I can go home,’ he added.
‘It’s not in me to throw games away. It’s bordering on that where I’m playing shots and if I miss, I’m hoping that they clear up, but they’re not.’
Despite his lack of motivation, the Englishman’s fine form has left him with the opportunity to achieve a single-season triple crown – a career first – at the World Championships later this year.
That opportunity, and his continued success, is what is keeping O’Sullivan playing professionally but he was also left dreading the prospect of cueing it up at the Crucible.
‘It’s hard when you are still winning to walk away from it,’ he said. ‘There’s that niggling voice in the back of your head saying if I can get game even half right, I could stroll through tournaments.
‘But that’s the worst one,’ he ended, referencing the upcoming World Championships.
‘I don’t mind the one where no one is watching; there’s no one here, no press and I can just chip up, play like a donkey and no one really notices.’
Next up at the Grand Prix, O’Sullivan will take on Gary Wilson for a place in the final four.