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Ronnie O’Sullivan regrets ‘stupid’ comments after winning Masters

Ronnie O’Sullivan has rowed back on comments suggesting that the chance to win eight titles at each Triple Crown event was a major motivator, insisting that he has “no interest in numbers”.

O’Sullivan’s Masters win on Sunday was his eighth at the event, which is also his tally at the UK Championship after his December victory in York.

Wins in the first two Triple Crown events of the season sets up a tilt at the World Championship in the spring to complete a single-season sweep of snooker’s most prestigious tournaments for the first time in the 48-year-old’s career.

Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a record-extending eighth Masters title on Sunday night (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)
Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a record-extending eighth Masters title on Sunday night (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)

O’Sullivan has secured seven world titles to date and suggested at the start of the Masters that the chance to have eight of each prize was driving him.

“It was nice when I had seven, seven, seven, and now I’ve got seven, seven, eight. So it’d be nice to go eight, eight, eight – the three eights,” O’Sullivan said to Eurosport last week. “I suppose that’s the sort of motivational thing to try and get another Masters, try and maybe get another Worlds.”

But after beating Ali Carter in Sunday’s final at Alexandra Palace, O’Sullivan suggested he regretted voicing that desire, claiming that it didn’t matter to him.

“I wish I hadn’t mentioned that stupid eight, eight, eight,” O’Sullivan said after a 10-7 win. “I am not even interested in it, but sometimes you feel you have got to say something. Really I have no interest in numbers.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan now has 23 Triple Crown titles (Getty Images)
Ronnie O’Sullivan now has 23 Triple Crown titles (Getty Images)

O’Sullivan will feature in this week’s World Grand Prix and then claims he will take a break from competitive snooker to refresh himself for the World Championship, which begins at the Crucible on 20 April.

A 23rd Triple Crown title leaves O’Sullivan five clear of Stephen Hendry on the all-time list, with few signs of “The Rocket” slowing down more than 30 years after his first UK Championship crown.

“It is hard to get excited by it as I have been doing it for so long,” O’Sullivan explained. “I just try and incorporate it into my life. That’s how I view snooker.

“It has been all of my life so I have to get that balance right between making sure I am ready to play, rather than feeling I have to put in loads of work and practice as I want to win tournaments. I am not burnt up by that anymore.

“It is just about going out and playing enough that if I get to a tournament and it all comes together, great. If it does not, I am going to try and put on as good a show as I can.”