Ronnie O'Sullivan has absolutely no desire to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award – but believes he should have scooped the end of year gong four times, writes Will Jennings.
The Rocket stormed to a thrilling sixth World Championship title in the summer and despite dominating his sport for decades, has never been nominated for the BBC award.
Six Crucible triumphs have been bolstered by seven UK Championships, seven Masters and 37 ranking event titles in a career that has spanned up to three decades on the baize.
O’Sullivan, 44, says he couldn’t care less about being consistently snubbed but believes on achievement alone, he should have been a worthy four-time winner.
The world No.2 said: “I have no interest and no desire for that in my life.
“It’s never really appealed to me, to go and stand around a load of other sportspeople that you don’t know.
“You’re just standing there looking at each other – it’s never appealed to me, all that sort of stardust, red carpets. You’ll never get me going down any red carpet.
“In the 29 years I’ve been invited to go I’ve never actually gone once to it, and I’ve been invited every year.
“For me, it was always about the tournaments and just focusing on my snooker. Not that it’s a bad thing – I probably never appreciated how important it was to have something like that, maybe earlier on in your career. But at my stage of my career it’s really not that important.
“I don’t think there is a British sportsman who’s broke virtually every record, dominated their sport like I have. If it just comes down to pure facts, figures, achievements, tournaments then I should have at least won it three or four times, I reckon.”
O’Sullivan soared to UK Championship glory as a 17-year-old and is eyeing up an eighth victory in the event after thrashing Leo Fernandez in the first round.
This year’s tournament is being held in Milton Keynes – rather than York – and the Rocket has a mixed record at the behind-closed-doors Marshall Arena, where he went down to a quarter-final defeat in the Champion of Champions and lost 9-7 in the final of the Northern Ireland Open to Judd Trump.
The Rocket reckons previous snubs are a symptom of snooker’s low profile – and the prize’s ambiguity means he has no interest in recognition.
“I think it says more about snooker than it does about me – but I’m not too worried about that,” he added.
“I wouldn’t turn it down – if they want to vote for me, great but if they don’t want to vote for me, then that’s I think more of a reflection on the sport rather than me.
“At the end of the day you go ‘what is it?’ Is it a personality contest? Is it a sporting contest? I think that’s what’s happened over the years – nobody really knows what it’s for.”