• Snooker

Farmhand Ronnie not ruling out Crucible comeback

ESPN staff
January 9, 2013
Ronnie O'Sullivan is currently spending more time with his family © PA Photos

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has not completely ruled out the prospect of coming out of retirement in time for the World Snooker Championship in May.

O'Sullivan, the four-time world champion, is currently spending time away from the game - having decided to take at least a year out in November to enjoy more time with his family and concentrate on his battle with depression.

But the 37-year-old, who is occupying himself by volunteering at a farm three days a week, has acknowledged that a return to action at The Crucible this year is not out of the question.

"There are personal things I need to sort out before I can even think of a return," O'Sullivan told The Sun. "I have until February to make that decision about the Crucible, anyway.

"But I am still playing every couple of weeks at my mum's house."

World Snooker chief Barry Hearn is keen for O'Sullivan, the sport's biggest draw, to return in time for the Sheffield tournament - revealing last month that O'Sullivan would likely be asked to make a decision on his participation around the end of January.

The two have not always seen eye-to-eye, but O'Sullivan added: "It [the break from the sport] has nothing to do with Barry Hearn, because we are getting on very well."

In the meantime, the Englishman is enjoying his time at a small farm in Epping Forest, where he helps clean out the pig sties among other manual tasks.

"I didn't want stress, as that was what was made me pull out of snooker, so I decided to go and do something unpaid," he said. "I get there about 8am, do my three or four-mile run first because it is right in the forest, then come back and do about six hours work.

"It has been kind of the opposite to what I was going through in snooker and I am really enjoying it."

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