Snooker: I'm battling Old Father Time as much as my rivals to remain a genuine world title contender
In writing his latest exclusive blog from the 888.com World Grand Prix in Llandudno, Ronnie discusses his form with brutal honesty.
As he gears up for his latest bid to win a sixth world title at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre next month, the five-times world champion tells Eurosport's Desmond Kane he is not overly content with his form so far in 2015. He also wonders whether or not he will have the dedication to continue competing like some of his snooker heroes when he is no longer a serious contender to win the sport's biggest prizes.
STEVE DAVIS, STEPHEN HENDRY, KEN DOHERTY AND JIMMY WHITE PLAYED ON BEYOND THEIR PEAK - COULD I DO THE SAME?
We are now a month away from the World Championship, and it is important to get some playing time under my belt.
It is going to be quite an interesting World Championship for me. Each year I find it does get harder and harder.
I think that comes with age. I do find the long competitions a real slog these days, and nothing is as long as the World Championship. It is 17 days of pure adrenaline.
If this year doesn't work out as planned, will I be happy to do what Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis did in the past and play on when really my game was not good enough to win the big ones?
Can I just play for the enjoyment of just being there, like Ken Doherty (the 1997 world champion) seems able to do?
I watch Ken and really admire him for his commitment to play the game. He is not getting the results he used to get, but still finds the urge to grind out results.
Jimmy White is no different. How does Jimmy keep playing when he's been at the top for so long yet is now struggling to hold on to his top 64 place?
Do I want to be in that postion where I'm playing just to hope I get a result now and again? I'm not sure I want to be that person. So for all those reasons this year is a big year for me.
Having played some really good snooker in 2015, and not having got a result so far, is that a tell-tale sign that I'm not the player I was?
The standard is getting stronger and better in depth, and I'm not getting any better as a player.
I look around at the players in the game, and I'm old enough to be their dads. Sometimes you need to look at the signs, read what's going on and postion your self right. Now might be the time to accept that my best days are behind me.
In fact, it might be a good time to take some time out again - I really think the break last time did me some good.
I came back with a new type of hunger, and absence can make the heart grow fonder.
I have lots of other things to do with my time. It is probably a good time to relax and explore.
The work I do with Eurosport is great. I was working as a pundit on the German Masters event. I didn't realise it would be that good. I enjoyed it more then I thought.
I love to watch snooker, I love being at the events, I had great food, stayed in a nice hotel and went out and had some good nights out with the lads, a few drinks and had a right laugh.
I don't normally let my hair down at competitions, but getting knocked out gave me the opputunity to embrace working as a pundit.. And yes, I had a ball.
RESULTS NOT AS GOOD AS EXPECTED SO FAR IN 2015
It has been a funny sort of start to 2015 on the table.
I finished 2014 as well as possible in winning the Champions Cup, and the UK Championship where I compiled my 13th maximum break.
I've played well in spells. I didn't play very well at the Masters in January when I lost 6-1 to Neil Robertson in the last four.
It was probably the worst snooker I've played in three or four years. Probably before I won the world title for a fourth time in 2012.
It was really disappointing considering how well I played in winning the Masters in 2014.
You always want to start off where you left off, but you can't just flick on a switch and expect it to happen. That is sport. You can't always play well when you want to.
Having watched Shaun Murphy win the Masters and the other guys play so well it did make me realise that I had to up my game and play a few smaller events.
It is no good trying to find your form at the big events - I believe you should be looking to hone your game at the minor events.
My form turned after playing two days playing in the Championship League at Crondon Park. My game felt sharp after those two days.
I was optimistic heading to the German Open with my game in good shape.
I played some of my best snooker in Germany only to lose 5-4 to Murphy, who was on a roll after winning the Masters.
All in all, I couldn't be too disappointed as that game could have gone either way - I was in effect one pot away from winning that match.
WELSH OPEN IN CARDIFF WAS FARCICAL - RAFAEL NADAL WOULDN'T ACCEPT SUCH CONDITIONS IN TENNIS
In the China Open qualifiers and the Welsh Open, my form was still feeling strong. I beat Luca Brecel 5-1 to qualify for Beijing, but I lost my way at the Welsh Open. I found the conditions there really bad.
I struggled with the table, and I struggled with all the people walking about while you are in the middle of the frame.
The Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff was again not big enough to get decent table time before you went out to play. You had three players sharing one practice table.
It was laughable. I have never seen anything like this in my life as a professional. It is another illustration that 128 players at one venue is not doable in the conditions you would expect top players to expect.
It is a bit like having four practice courts at Wimbledon, it wouldn't happen. Could you imagine Rafael Nadal sharing the court with six people? It just would not happen.
Anyway I switched off in my mind, and once you switch off its hard to switch back on. My form went, my game went and I lost 4-3 to Matthew Stevens in the last 32. I no longer had the desire to compete as hard as you need to win at the highest level.
Since then I've not picked my cue up. I had a complete month off from playing. I did play the shoot-out at Blackpool a few weeks ago, but you can hardly count that as a proper tournament.
Ronnie enjoyed a 4-0 win over Robert Milkins in the last 16 of the World Grand Prix on Wednesday. He faces Graeme Dott in the last eight on Friday. He also competes at the China Open which runs from March 30 to April 5 in Beijing before the World Championship begins in Sheffield. British Eurosport is showing 19 snooker tournaments per season including the World Championship - 18 April to 4 May.