Ronnie O'Sullivan coy on future
Ronnie O'Sullivan hinted he has not ruled out defending his fifth Betfair World Championship title after defeating Barry Hawkins in the final at the Crucible.
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O'Sullivan capped his comeback from almost a year out by winning snooker's biggest prize for a fifth time.
The 37-year-old rolled up in Sheffield without any competitive match practice and proceeded to tear through the draw, culminating in an 18-12 triumph against surprise finalist Hawkins.
O'Sullivan, who earlier in the tournament claimed he had returned to pay school fees and would not come back to Sheffield next year, then suggested the door could be still open for another title defence.
"My main motive wasn't to come here and win it. I was kind of bored, sitting on the sidelines with nothing going on and I thought, 'I can do it'. Something to just keep me busy for the next six weeks, preparing for the worlds," he said on BBC2.
"And then coming here, I like Sheffield, I love the tournament and being at the Crucible, so it filled a nice gap of eight weeks and I've got to keep busy now.
"It's been great just to get something back in my life."
Asked whether he would be back at the Crucible next year, he replied: "I've had a great time and I enjoyed every moment. I love playing and I'm definitely going to be playing in some smaller events, as to me that's just pure snooker.
"Here, there is a lot going on and it's hard, but I just love playing so I will definitely be playing in some smaller events and we will just see what goes on."
O'Sullivan hailed the influence of psychologist Steve Peters, who helped him to get in the right frame of mind to resume his career.
"He (Peters) has been with me all the way,'' O'Sullivan said.
"I don't think I would have won back-to-back titles without him. Everyone knows me - 17 days is a long time. I am up and down like a whore's drawers.
"I didn't know what to expect.''
But the five-time champion admitted a life focused on snooker could still be too much for him and he needs to balance it with other things if he is to continue.
"I realised after a year out that I didn't really miss snooker - I just missed having something to do, so if I can balance it with other things, then that's the way forward for me,'' O'Sullivan added.
"You can feel trapped sometimes when it's just snooker, snooker, snooker. I'm not good at dealing with all the emotions that come with it so I need something on the side to chill me out a bit.''
Hawkins, the surprise package of the tournament, hailed his opponent who he
believes is "the best in the world".
He said: "I tried my hardest and made more mistakes than Ronnie did and I can't afford to do that against him. He's unbelievable.
"I'm glad I made a game of it and pushed him a bit.
"It's everyone's dream (in my family) to see me play in the world final and hopefully I've got a few more years left and will come back and win it one day.
"It's a shame I lost but Ronnie's by far the best player in the world so there is no shame in that."