'Unplayable' - Ronnie O'Sullivan warned rival has 'never been better' as legend prepares for snooker return

'Unplayable' - Ronnie O'Sullivan warned rival has 'never been better' as legend prepares for snooker return

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Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 09/02/2024

- 17:42

The Rocket is set to make a comeback from his break in Wales next week

Ronnie O'Sullivan has been warned that one of his rivals is currently 'unplayable' ahead of his return to competing at the Welsh Open.

Neil Robertson insists his long game has 'never been better' and he will head to Llandudno confident after this week's Championship League.

O'Sullivan has been taking a break and hasn't competed since he won a World Open qualifier against Alfie Burden on January 23.

He chose to sit out of the German Masters in Berlin last week, confirming he was prioritising his 'health and wellbeing'.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan is set to return to competing at the Welsh Open next week


The Rocket has been in sensational winning form, triumphing in the last three tournaments he has entered including the first two Triple Crown Events of the season.

Robertson has had a season to forget so far but showed glimpses of a return to form in Germany before exiting at the round of 16.

The 2010 world champion was back to near his best in Leicester this week, winning the final of Championship League Group 4.

He brushed aside Barry Hawkins in Thursday's semi-final before beating Kyren Wilson 3-2 in the final.

Both Robertson and O'Sullivan have to play a qualifier on Monday to get into the main draw of the Welsh Open.

Robertson faces Wales' Jackson Page, while O'Sullivan will return to action against Scotland's Liam Graham.

The pair are in different halves of the draw, so could meet if they both get to the final.

After a difficult few months, Robertson can finally see his form at the table coming together and has sent a warning to his rivals.

He said: "Yeah I definitely think [I'm close to my best]. With some of the matches I've played this week, I've been unplayable at times.

"The long balls have been absolutely fantastic and I've changed my approach with how I'm playing the long ones by going back to playing how I used to play many years ago, with everything pretty much plain ball.

"That's what I've been doing, just backing myself to hit the centre of the white and my long potting has never been better, and my scoring is fantastic as well.

"The match with Barry Hawkins, I think he only had five shots in the semi-final.

"Kyren and I both kind of threw the kitchen sink at each other in the final there.

"The last frame was unbelievable really, he just tried to do a bit too much with the safety shot and I made a really good 50-odd break.

"When you get to the final and you've already played a couple of groups, you kind of want to get through to the winners' group so it's nice to go back to Cambridge and get a little bit of practice in before the Welsh."


Neil Robertson

Neil Robertson insists he is back to playing near his best ahead of the Welsh Open


Robertson insists he is heading to Wales full of confidence and is glad to have built momentum ahead of the tournament.

He added: "Yeah [I'll be going to Wales with more confidence]. The signs were there in Germany last week, it took a really good performance from Kyren to beat me in that.

"I took all the positives from that and I knew that this week, the Championship League is always a great opportunity to get good match practice against top players.

"That's what I've been able to do this week. It's made me really enjoy competing again because I went through a spell earlier in the season where I played one match a month for like four straight months.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson could meet if the pair make the final of the Welsh Open


"I'd play a match and then nothing on for three weeks, so you can't really build any momentum.

"So to be able to build momentum, and it's gathering now, I'm really looking forward to next week now."

If Robertson beats Page on Monday, he will face Stuart Carrington in the first round.

O'Sullivan will come up against Wales' Dominic Dale if he beats Graham in his qualifier.

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