'How tickled I am!'. A buoyant Ronnie O'Sullivan has revealed he is keen to emulate fellow iconic British entertainer Sir Ken Dodd rather than green baize idol Ken Doherty by continuing to tour until he pots his last snooker ball in life.
The six-times defending world champion meets fellow legend and Eurosport pundit Jimmy White in the second round of the Welsh Open at Celtic Manor on Wednesday following a 4-0 drubbing of former Indian Open semi-finalist Robbie Williams in the first round that included razor-sharp breaks of 122, 73, 66 and 56.
Rocket Ronnie is out to follow in the footsteps of the great Liverpool singer and comedian Doddy, who was still selling out theatres up and down the UK until his sad death at the age of 90 in 2018.
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At 45, O'Sullivan would only be halfway through his career if he emulates the Knotty Ash favourite's astonishing life and times that earned him a knighthood for services to entertainment and charity in 2017.
"My main thing is I want to do a Ken Dodd, he toured until the day he died," O'Sullivan told reporters.
"For me, that’s playing exhibitions and having fun and as long as I keep fit and healthy, I try and do 30 or 40 nights a year.
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"I loved it, me and my mate on the road, it was like a road trip, we have so much fun.
I play enough snooker to be sharp enough for exhibitions, which is great. I can manage my diary much better, I like to be secure in what I’m doing, have control of what I’m doing.
"55 should be the minimum really, (Steve) Davis was still playing good snooker at 55.
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"If I’m still in good shape, playing good snooker, why not do exhibitions until I’m 65? If you’re still playing well, people are enjoying it, you’re still doing good things on the table, that would be great for me."
O'Sullivan would love to lift the Ray Reardon trophy by winning a fifth Welsh Open title. Six-times world champion Reardon famously guided O'Sullivan's safety game to his second world title in 2004.
"The relationship I have with Ray is much more important than a trophy, it would be great if Ray was here to hand the trophy over, obviously that would be a special moment," he said.
Any tournament is great to be in and great to participate in. The relationship I had with Ray and the time we spent together is what I’ll remember most.
"We still chat on the phone, not as much as we used to, but I still check in with him now and again. I’m sure he’ll have been watching today so I’ll get a little text from him telling me I was rubbish and could improve in certain areas."
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