Ronnie O'Sullivan reveals new 'golden rule' he abides by after Players Championship win

Ronnie O'Sullivan reveals new 'golden rule' he abides by after Players Championship win

WATCH NOW: Ronnie O'Sullivan lifts an eighth Masters title in January

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 20/02/2024

- 22:25

Updated: 20/02/2024

- 22:46

The seven-time world champion made a winning return on Tuesday evening

Ronnie O'Sullivan says he will no longer comment on other players after making a winning return at the Players Championship on Tuesday.

The Rocket also said his new 'golden rule' is not to discuss his own performance after beating Zhou Yuelong in the first round.

O'Sullivan was making his first competitive appearance since beating Alfie Burden in a World Open qualifier on January 23.

The 48-year-old took a break, withdrawing from both the German Masters and Welsh Open in order to protect his health and wellbeing.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Zhou Yuelong upon his return to playing


He was drawn against Chinese star Zhou upon his return, a player he had not lost against in any of their six meetings.

Zhou had the better of the early stages as O'Sullivan showed clear signs of rust. The 26-year-old led 2-1 and missed opportunities to take a vital lead into the interval.

O'Sullivan returned after the break at 2-2 in a much better place and won the next four frames to win 6-2.

He will now face either Mark Selby or Barry Hawkins in the quarter-final on Thursday, with the pair's first-round match taking place on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to ITV afterwards, O'Sullivan was asked whether Zhou would regret some of the chances he missed earlier in the match.

But the Rocket, who has often criticised his opponents in the past, decided to remain tight-lipped.

He said: "Yeah I'm not going to comment on other players anymore. So I'm just pleased to be through, you know."

O'Sullivan has won the last three tournaments he has entered, including the first two Triple Crown events of the season.

But he has been extremely critical of his own performances despite being on a 16-game winning run that stretches back to last November.

However, he refused to comment on how he played against Zhou, saying: "I don't assess my performances really, I make that a golden rule.

"I just play, bit of match practice, take what I can from the tour and move on."

O'Sullivan says he is trying to play as few tournaments as possible and said his break was not to refresh himself.

He said: "I've always been refreshed, yeah, that wasn't the thing. I'm just trying to get away with playing as least as I can.

"I feel happier doing that and just treat it like a bit of match practice, take what I can from the tour and that's it really.


Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan says he intends to play as few tournaments as possible


"I've been [picking and choosing tournaments] all my career so that's not really the reason why [I took a break], there's other reasons why.

"But like I said I came here to try and get a bit of match practice, try and take what I can out of it and just make sure I'm sharp for when I'm doing my other bits and pieces.

"This is all icing on the cake for me, whatever I get off this tour. I've got my exhibitions, I've got my ambassador work and that's my main thing. I just fit in a few tournaments around that, you know.

"I'm contracted to play in certain tournaments, so I will play in them because ambassadors want me to play in them, so it's fine, I'll definitely go to them. And the rest is all up for grabs."

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Zhou Yuelong 6-2 in the first round of the Players Championship


O'Sullivan got a great reception at the International Centre in Telford and he was pleased to put on a show for the fans.

He said: "I love the fans, that's the most important thing to me.

"As long as the fans still want to see me play and still want to come and watch me and they still feel like I can give value for money, that's the most important thing.

"But for me it's just like a day out, I just enjoy getting away from home, booking in my Airbnb, doing my gym, doing my running and just fit a few frames of snooker in. Just a bit of paid practice really."

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