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Ronnie O'Sullivan names the only two opponents who left him feeling 'gutted' in snooker

Ronnie O'Sullivan names the only two opponents who left him feeling 'gutted' in snooker

O'Sullivan is hoping to win his eighth World Snooker Championship.

Ronnie O'Sullivan has named his two toughest matches at the World Snooker Championship that left him feeling "gutted".

O'Sullivan, 48, is a seven-time winner of the Championship and holds the joint record for the most victories in the modern era, tied with Stephen Hendry.

'The Rocket' could win the tournament for a historic eighth time at the Crucible in the coming weeks, with the competition set to get underway on Saturday.

Ahead of his first match, O'Sullivan has revealed the two defeats that left him "most gutted" as well as his proudest moment when "everything clicked".

While he lost in the 2014 final to Mark Selby, O'Sullivan instead picked two matches from 2016 and 2017 as his toughest defeats.

Speaking about his second-round loss to Barry Hawkins in 2016, when he lost 13-12, O'Sullivan told Eurosport: "I had been playing loads of exhibitions so I had no safety game really, I couldn't win a close game.

"I must have had 13 or 12 breaks over 70, but I just couldn't win the close ones. But towards 9-9 I think there was a point where I found my safety shots and I thought if I win this I could win the tournament. My game was coming good at the right time but he won the last frame and I was gutted."

He also picked his 2017 quarter-final defeat to Ding Junhui, when he recovered from 3-0 down to level at 4-4 before losing 13-10.

"He got a good lead, I shouldn't have let him get that lead as I had chances, but there was someone in the crowd that I didn't want there and it played on my mind a bit and I thought get him out, once he was out I was fine," added O’Sullivan.

"I came back at him but every time I was two or three frames behind. I thought I was playing well and I'm going to get level and just try to get ahead, but he kept pulling away. I was a bit shocked.

"I thought I haven't broke him yet, I kept coming at him, I was striking the ball really well and I came out thinking I don't know really how I've lost that other than he just had a lead and played really well and performed really well that day. I came away thinking I could have won that tournament."

O'Sullivan is hoping to win his eighth World Snooker Championship (Image: Getty)
O'Sullivan is hoping to win his eighth World Snooker Championship (Image: Getty)

O'Sullivan added: "Those were probably the two matches when I have been most gutted because I thought if I got through them I fancied it. When you start to fancy it that's when it gets exciting."

He then picked out his fourth tournament victory in 2012, when he beat Ali Carter 18-11 in the final, as his proudest moment.

"I think I felt like the complete player for the first time," he added.

"I know I had won the World Championships three times before that but it felt like everything came right, my game was right, I was hitting form and won it through pure talent and skill.

"There were times when I would get beat because my game wasn't right but this was the first time where my game was OK all season, didn't go into the World Championships with much form, and then I got to Sheffield and it just clicked, but I still had these mental skills to fall back on as well so I was using them.

"It was the first time I won a tournament and felt like the complete player. It wasn't just talent that won it, it was talent and skill, but there were times I had to use my head, not panic, not get stressed, and I was able to think my way out of it."

Featured Image Credit: ITV & Getty

Topics: Snooker, Ronnie OSullivan