On this day in 2012: Ronnie O’Sullivan announces break from snooker

Ronnie O’Sullivan announced his decision not to play on the professional snooker tour for the season due to personal reasons on this day in 2012 – but he would return for the season-ending World Championship and win it.

World Snooker chairman, Barry Hearn, announced O’Sullivan, then 36, had “personal issues which he needs to resolve”.

After winning his fourth world title, O’Sullivan had previously said he intended to take six months out from the sport.

Ronnie O’Sullivan reacts with his head in towel
Ronnie O’Sullivan felt he needed some time away from the spotlight (Sean Dempsey/PA)

O’Sullivan briefly returned to play in a low-profile Players Tour Championship event during September, before then withdrawing from the International Championship in Chengdu citing illness.

“I have spoken to Ronnie and he has decided to withdraw from any events he has entered, and he will not be playing for the rest of this season,” Hearn said.

“He has some personal issues which he needs to resolve and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan shakes hands with World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn (left) hoped to see O’Sullivan make a return (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

O’Sullivan’s manager Django Fung told the BBC: “At the moment he wants to be away from snooker, see how he feels, see how he can manage his personal life, see if he can try to do other things, see if he can have a better life without snooker.

“You never know. In six months’ time, next season, he might decide he’s 100 per cent again, and we might see the best of Ronnie O’Sullivan again.”

In February 2013, O’Sullivan announced he had ended his sabbatical from the sport and planned to defend his World Championship title in Sheffield.

“I just thought it was time to come back. I have a different perspective now,” said O’Sullivan, who had battled depression during his career.

“I am used to being written off. I know how good I am and that I can do this.”

On his return to the Crucible, O’Sullivan won his fifth World Championship crown with an 18-12 victory over Barry Hawkins in the final.

O’Sullivan, now 46, has since claimed the title twice more to equal Stephen Hendry’s record.