Forget winning snooker titles, watching my little girl finish school race was highlight of my year
Ronnie O'Sullivan begins the defence of his Masters title against Ricky Walden at London's Alexandra Palace on Tuesday. He has won the game's biggest invitational tournament five times, and would love to add a sixth this week.
In writing his first blog of 2015, Ronnie tells Eurosport's Desmond Kane about his best and worst moments of 2014, his favourite sporting moments of the year, why he prefers the Masters to the World Championship and why he'd love to play snooker before the darts crowd at the 'Ally Pally'.
BEST MOMENT OF YEAR
The highlight of 2014 was watching my daughter Lily run in her district cross country race. She came fifth out of 70 runners. It is one of the proudest moments of my life. I don't think I've ever felt that happy. She put so much effort into that run. It told me so much about her character. I learnt something new about my little girl that day. She's got guts and determination. It is a great quality to have.
On the snooker table, last year was a very good year for me. I was very happy with my results and some of my performances in winning the Masters, the Welsh Open, the Champions Cup and finishing it off with the UK title.
I hope 2015 is half as good as 2014. I just hope I've not peaked too early, especially with some big competitions coming up. I want to be in the mix for all of them. Starting with the Masters.
WORST MOMENT OF YEAR
Breaking my ankle just before the UK Championship last month when I was out running was a real downer. It was even worse then losing the World Championship final. I know that is hard to believe, but it is true.
I was just getting fit again after not running properly for five years. As you can imagine, it was very annoying and frustrating for me to break the ankle.
There's no feeling like having your health. Snooker is my job, and a passion. But running is my passion that feeds my soul. Hence why it was worst moment of 2014 for me.
Thankfully, the ankle is fine now. And I'm fit and looking forward to another exciting year.
I LOVE THE BUZZ OF THE MASTERS MORE THAN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SLOG
I would have to say last year's Masters was the best snooker I have played for a long time.
Especially against Ricky Walden when I won 6-0 in the quarter-finals in around about an hour. That day everything went right for me. I didn't put a foot wrong. Trying to better that will be a a waste of time. Those performances only come around once in a while.
I really do like the Ally Pally as a venue. It is so close to my house: it feels like I'm going down the club for a knock about.
There is only one drawback about the Masters: it is so close to home I get driven mad for tickets. Everyone wants to come, and everyone thinks I get unlimited tickets. which I don't. In that respect, it becomes a bit of a nightmare and I much prefer playing away from my home town.
At least Ronnie Wood doesn't ask for tickets. Jimmy (White) sorts him out. Hopefully, Ronnie will be in the crowd this year. That bloke just loves his snooker.
Looking back at last year's Masters when I overcame Mark Selby in the final, maybe I did peak a little too early ahead of losing to Mark (Selby) a few months later in the World Championship final, but I would never not try to win the Masters.
There is no point in trying to peak and save yourself for the World Championship.
The World championship is one of my least favourite competitions. It goes on too long. 17 days is far too long to really enjoy it.
You actually get half way through that tournament and you suddenly think to your self "I can't wait for this to end". You really do.
I love winning it, but people underestimate the demands on you to keep your form going for such a long tournament.
The crowd in London do tend to be a lot more vocal at the Masters and get involved which is great. It really makes for a great atmosphere. A lot of people ask me could I play in an atmosphere the same as the darts?
I always reply yes, I'd love to play in front of that type of crowd.
Maybe Power Snooker can be brought back to make that happen? I'd love it to happen. I really do think there is a place in snooker for an event like Power Snooker and all the excitement it brings.
MY FAVOURITE SPORTING MOMENTS OF 2014 WERE THE BEST OF BRITISH
I think this is a good chance for me to pick out a few of my personal sporting moments from the past year.
First of all, I'd like to say how much I admire what Rory McIlroy has achieved in golf. As a snooker player, you aspire to that level of excellence and composure. To win the Open and the US PGA in one season was truly exceptional, but he also picked up the PGA Championship at Wentworth, won a few times in the US and helped Europe collect the Ryder Cup.
The emergence of Anthony Joshua in boxing continues to excite me. I love watching this guy fight. I have a feeling that Anthony is the real deal, and he could soon be another British world champion.
Jo Pavey shows what you can do when you put your mind to it. It was terrific to watch Jo win the European championship 10,000m at the age of 39. Absolutely fantastic. As a guy who likes running, I appreciate the effort that went into that.
FAVOURITE BOOK OF YEAR
One of the best books I've read was Running with the Kenyans. Not only was it a great insight into running, but also a great insight into the culture of Kenya's greatest athletes. It shows why the Kenyans are so dominant in long distance running. And why they seem to have big smiles on their faces at all times.
No wonder. It is easy to smile when you are that good.
I don't really have a worst book of the year. I always stop reading a book it it doesn't interest me in the first 30-50 pages.
Finally, I'd like to wish all snooker fans and readers of my blog a very Happy New Year.