In his latest exclusive blog, five-times world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan tells Eurosport's Desmond Kane why the disappointment of his 18-14 defeat to Mark Selby in this year's Crucible final continues to linger on. He discusses why it remains important to him to entertain when winning. Ronnie also explains why crashing his car on the way home from Sheffield after the final was not down to tiredness.
Looking back, I'm more disappointed now than I was at the time about losing to Mark in Sheffield. At the time, I thought I was happy enough to have had a good run to the final. I was thinking it would have been nice to win at the time, but in hindsight I'm fairly disappointed that I didn't win it for a sixth time this year.
But I'm not going to pretend or kid myself on. I wasn't playing anywhere near the standard that I had achieved the previous two years when I won it fairly comfortably.
For whatever reason, I don't know. I struggled in the second round against Joe Perry before coming through 13-11. I think Shaun Murphy made it fairly easy for me in the quarter-finals because I didn't have to play well when I expected a tough match against him (13-3).
Barry Hawkins did not play at the levels in the semi-finals (17-7) he played at in the final the previous year against me. I think it caught up with me in the end playing against a player who was on form, and playing some good stuff. It was a step too far maybe for me.
I'd maybe have preferred to have lost in the first round rather than going 15 or 16 days, and failing to win it.
If I had been playing to a higher standard, I could have got in a bit earlier and avoided all those long frames in the final. I think I should have been further ahead than three frames on the Sunday night, but this is sport. You pay for missing chances when they come along.
It seemed that for every ball I was putting off the cushion, he was putting one back on it. I felt that I got dragged down to that sort of game.
If we played attacking frames, I'd be winning four to his one, but he would be winning three or four out of five if it went tactical.
That style suited him more than me, and I was unable to compete as well as I would have liked.
The worrying sign for me during the final was that there was no adrenaline going through my body.
Normally, when you go out to play, you are thinking you don't want to go out to get blown away by someone playing fantastic snooker.
I never really got that feeling from Mark. He wasn't going to blow me away because the frames were all long and drawn-out.
I didn't feel like I was involved in the match. I felt a bit numb. Every time I potted a ball, I wondered where my next colour, or red was coming from.
He was good at making it that type of game. So credit for him to be able to play that way, but it would never suit me.
ONLY WAY TO WIN MORE WORLD TITLES IS TO CONTINUE ATTACKING
I firmly believe that if you want to be a serial winner, a prolific champion and win many world titles, you have to attack the game and take it by the scruff of the neck.
I don't think I could play the way Selby plays and win five world titles. I don't think it would be possible.
If I had played against Stephen Hendry like that, he would have found a way of breaking it down, outscoring me and eventually beating me.
My philosophy has to be focused on attacking, and trying to win the world title rather than waiting for it to happen for you.
You score heavily, you pot well and you play good safety. That's how you do it. That is the recipe for success in snooker. I base my game on that philosophy.
I don't believe that being negative will pay off in the longer run. If I had waited for my opportunities and never taken any risks, I don't think I would have won one world title.
For me, I'm disappointed to lose that one final. But I've won five by taking risks, and I won't alter that mindset.
I've learnt that high-risk shots have become bread-and-butter for me to win the big tournaments.
You are always trying to raise the bar of what is possible on a snooker table. I have no regrets about my approach to the final.
I CONTINUE TO MODEL APPROACH ON BARCELONA, FEDERER AND WOODS
I will not compromise my ideals. It is like asking Barcelona to change their style of play when they suffer a setback. They obviously have the right approach because it has brought them numerous Champions Leagues and Spanish titles.
It is great to watch, and it is wonderful to be around to witness that stuff. I base my philosophy on wanting to play snooker the way that Barcelona approach football, the way Roger Federer plays tennis, the way Tiger Woods plays golf...these entertainers inspire me.
I want to be remembered as much as an entertainer as a world champion.
I don't want to be like a Chelsea or a Jose Mourinho with 11 men behind the ball trying to frustrate you, and then the boring team wins on the counter attack.
A result is a result, but I would rather do it in a manner that is pleasing to myself and pleasing to the many people who enjoying watching the game.
There are a lot of snooker fans, and it is nice for me to be able to win and entertain at the same time.
A lot of players are tired by the quarter-finals and semis at the World Championship, but most of the time when I'm there I feel like I'm down the club practicing.
That helps me to relax. I just like to get out and express myself on the table.
When I have to focus on every ball frame after frame it becomes very mentally tiring.
When you are in the zone, you don't have that problem. I'll dust myself down, take a few months break and then start preparing for another crack at winning some more titles next season.
CAR CRASH WAS SCARY RATHER THAN SERIOUS
I'd like to thank all the people for their messages of support after the car incident. I know there was a lot of concern. I'm very grateful for that.
If it hadn't been on the M1 and hadn't been on the fast lane, it would have been a minor incident.
I got stuck on the fast lane, and couldn't get over to the hard shoulder.
I had my little boy with me. That was obviously the most dangerous aspect of it all.
Ronnie Jnr was a bit shaken up at the time, but he was fine.
If it had been on a side street, it would have been a nothing accident. It was just a bit more dangerous with cars going at a fair speed beside you, but it was made out to be a lot worse than it was.
It was scary for a moment when I hit the puddle. But it ended up feeling pleasant, believe it or not, because I just glided along. It wasn't a horrible thump, a crash or bang or flipping the car.
A wheel came off I think, and it just got stuck on the central reservation thing.
I could have stayed in Sheffield after the final, but I always travel during the night because I prefer avoiding the traffic.
I was wide awake. I wasn't nodding off at the wheel or anything. It was just unfortunate really. I could have drove for five or six hours.
It wasn't a problem with tiredness. I had been sitting in my chair for most of the day.
Let's face it...I didn't really do much during the day.
You can catch Ronnie in action this weekend. He is competing at the Snooker Legends event at the Hexagon Theatre in Reading on May 25th and 26th. Tickets are available with Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis all taking part.
- Sports & Recreation