• Snooker news

O'Sullivan 'pushed his luck' with drug use

ESPN staff
October 6, 2013
Ronnie O'Sullivan has suffered well-documented problems with drugs,drink and depression during his career © PA Photos

Ronnie O'Sullivan revealed he "pushed his luck" by taking drugs during his professional career and admitted he once felt snooker got in the way of his recreational activities.

World Champion O'Sullivan, who claimed his fifth world title in May, stated he had once feared for testers while playing in tournaments as he continued to battle with well-documented problems with drink, drugs and depression off the table.

'Rocket' lost his 1998 Irish Masters Crown after testing positive for cannabis and admitted that, at his worst, he could not go without starting the day with a joint.

However, following several spells of treatment in the Priory clinic, O'Sullivan has found stability off the table and became the first player in 17 years to claim successive World Championship titles at the Crucible in May.

"When I was having my weekly benders and my private life was in bits, I had a brilliant year professionally," O'Sullivan wrote in his autobiography Running, which is being serialised in The Sun.

"I remember getting to every World Championship and thinking, 'I can't wait until this tournament is over 'cos then there's no more drug tests, I can go out and smash it'.

"I'd got caught once in my career, but that's all. I'd get tested between events, and I was trying to judge it perfectly so there'd be no drugs left in my system, but I was pushing my luck. My mum said to me, 'You are going to get caught soon. You can't carry on like this'."

O'Sullivan spoke further of how his love for enjoying himself often snowballed out of control, which eventually culminated in him relying on drugs to start his day.

"I loved a joint. The only problem with a joint is that one spliff follows another, and another," O'Sullivan said.

"[I would have] any old drink, it didn't matter. Throw in a few spliffs. Then at 7am the sun would come up and I'd think 'Oh, Jesus, I've done it again'. The birds would be tweeting and I'd think 'I'm bang in trouble'.

"At my worst I had to have a joint first thing in the morning just to function. But loads of time snooker got in the way of my benders, rather than the other way round."

Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close