World snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan claims to have “pushed his luck” by taking drugs during his career, to the point where he was desperate for tournaments to be over in order to avoid being tested.
O’Sullivan, who won his fifth world title in May, has had well-documented problems with drink, drugs and depression during a colourful career that has never been short on controversy.
He lost his 1998 Irish Masters crown after testing positive for cannabis and suffered numerous problems as he looked for stability on and off the table.
With both parents jailed for different offences, O’Sullivan’s private life was rarely not mentioned, and he had spells in the Priory clinic to treat his addictions.
Stability has followed in later life and his win at Sheffield in May made him the first back-to-back winner of the tournament in 17 years.
But in his new autobiography, Running, serialised in the Sun, the 37-year-old has spoken of how different things used to be.
“When I was having my weekly benders and my private life was in bits, I had a brilliant year professionally,” he said.
“I remember getting to every World Championship and thinking, ‘I can’t wait til this tournament is over ‘cos then there’s no more drug tests, I can go out and smash it’.
“I’d got caught once in my career, but that’s all. I’d get tested between events, and I was trying to judge it perfectly so there’d be no drugs left in my system, but I was pushing my luck.
“My mum said to me, ‘You are going to get caught soon. You can’t carry on like this’.”
O’Sullivan remains snooker’s leading name and the biggest draw for the fans, despite his constant run-ins with authority and numerous threats to quit.
He claims, though, that the sport often got in his way of seeking a good time.
“I loved a joint. The only problem with a joint is that one spliff follows another, and another,” he added of his cannabis use.
“(I would have) any old drink, it didn’t matter. Throw in a few spliffs. Then at 7am the sun would come up and I’d think ‘Oh, Jesus, I’ve done it again’. The birds would be tweeting and I’d think ‘I’m bang in trouble’.
“At my worst I had to have a joint first thing in the morning just to function. But loads of time snooker got in the way of my benders, rather than the other way round.”
O’Sullivan is currently building up towards the end-of-year UK Championships in York. He is gradually making a return to the main tour, having taken a year off between his 2012 and 2013 world titles.
He returned at Sheffield having played one game in 12 months, saying he was back in order to earn enough money to pay his children’s school fees.
There was no comment from World Snooker on Sunday morning.
Courtesy of Press Association
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