Speaking after his 10-1 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first round of the World Championship in a Crucible record time of 108 minutes, the five-times world champion compared himself to British royalty in the form of Prince William because he's been groomed for a career in the sport since his childhood like a "king".
But the Essex player also admitted he is more keen on Prince Harry, who officially departed his duties as a senior member of the British royal family in March.
“I’ve had that since the age of 10 or 11, and that expectation level is in many ways like Prince William groomed to be king,” said O'Sullivan, who faces UK champion Ding Junhui over the best of 25 frames in the second round on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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“If you said to me ‘do you want Prince William’s role?’ I wouldn’t know where to begin, but he’s had it since a child and it just becomes natural, I suppose.
“For me, that’s the same metaphor for snooker – as a youngster, I’ve learned to deal with pressure and playing under pressure at junior, amateur, professional ranks.
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“He’s (Harry) done a runner! I don’t know, it’s strange – he’s done a runner from it and doesn’t want the spotlight, and I’ve been trying to do that all my life!
“I’ve tried to do it as well as I can and that’s why you don’t see me at the venue much, and I try and keep as much privacy as I can."
World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn – O'Sullivan's former manager – suggests the Rocket loves the limelight and "likes a column inch so he comes up with outlandish statements, most of which are rubbish".
“Obviously whatever I say they’re always trying to get a comment or a quote and it’s a bit of a headline, and even when other players are interviewed, it’s always about me," said O'Sullivan, who received an OBE for services to the sport in 2015.
“‘What do you think of what Ronnie said?’ or ‘what do you think of what Ronnie does?’ so I can’t really win either way, unless I just have a complete personality overall change."
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