Ronnie O’Sullivan is hoping continued problems with his tip do not take a mental toll in the later stages of the English Open.
The six-time world champion has been wrestling with a problematic tip in Milton Keynes this week.
However, he has produced a series of impressive performances to reach the semi-finals, which he puts down to playing some of his best snooker.
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He overwhelmed Luca Brecel 5-1 in the quarter-finals, and is unsure whether he will be able to sustain the excellence to overcome the problems with his tip.
"The tip is still not great,” O'Sullivan told Eurosport. “I’ve got no confidence in it. I’m hitting the ball well so I am able to override it but if I am not hitting the ball out of the button…
“It is a bit hard as mentally it’s like ‘can I play perfect for two days?’
“Confidence-wise I am hitting the ball as well as I can. I am hitting the ball so true.
“It (the tip) is not coming off, I will reshape it and it will see me through to the end.“
Despite the issues, O’Sullivan is looking forward to the battle in Milton Keynes at the weekend.
“It is a challenge,” he said. “It is like trying to win a marathon with a pair of heavy boots on. Let’s give it a go. It’s a test, I love a challenge.”
Asked what the problems with the tip are, O’Sullivan replied: “I have no power in it. I was coming up a bit short, and am hitting the ball too well not to be perfect on it.
It’s how much I can do that, mentally. When you start playing the good guys, there’s no margin for error."
O’Sullivan went on to talk about the mental side of the game, and the struggles he has had to overcome.
“I have always had no confidence,” he said. ”If it wasn’t for my dad, I don’t think I’d have had the confidence to go out there and play.
“I did not think I was good enough, and he made me believe in myself. Steve Peters has taken that role over, Damien (Hirst) as well. They are able to make me feel relaxed and go out there.
“I have gained confidence over the past few years. It is hard.
“I look at the guys on tour and wish I had some of their confidence, and they probably wish they had some of my break-building ability.
“You are given what you are given and have to make the best of it.”

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