Five-times world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan says he could have enjoyed more sustained success in snooker if he had stayed single.
O'Sullivan won the last of his world titles in 2013, but gets his latest chance to narrow the gap on seven-times winner Stephen Hendry – the most prolific world champion of the modern era – when the sport's biggest event is staged behind closed doors at the Crucible Theatre next month.
Despite lifting a record seven Masters and seven UK titles amid 36 ranking victories since turning professional in 1992, O'Sullivan believes personal commitments can complicate success in sport.
"It’s not a bad life, being single and just playing sport and doing what you want when you want," said O'Sullivan during an Instagram chat with Hendry.
"If I had my time again, I’d probably have stayed single forever and just been selfish."
'Wow!' - Judd Trump's best shots of the season
Hendry agreed with O'Sullivan when analysing undisputed world number and world champion Judd Trump's future prospects in the sport.
"With Judd, I don’t want to tell people how to run their lives, but if he stays single, that would be massive for him, in terms of how much he’s going to win," said Hendry.
"You have to make sacrifices, you have to be ruthless if you want to be at the top of any sport, not just snooker.
"You have to be selfish. It’s affected my life, it’s affected (six-times world champion) Steve (Davis)’s life. So many sportsmen, because they’re so single minded to get to the top.
"Unfortunately, you can’t do it any other way, I don’t think, you have to be ruthless."
Best of The Rocket: Some recent O'Sullivan magic
O'Sullivan has also offered some advice to 30-year-old Trump, who has enjoyed a record six ranking event victories this season.
"If you can stay at the top of the game for three, four, five years then you’ve done well," said O'Sullivan.
"I’ve had spells where I’ve been at the top for two or three years, I’ve hung around a lot longer, but to sustain that is really hard.
"Judd might rule the world or the next four or five years, if he can do it for 10 years brilliant, but it’s hard to stay on top, unless you’re someone like you (Hendry), Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods, it took a generation to catch up."