O’Sullivan on where he wants to finish career after raising rule fear

Ronnie O’Sullivan got his bid to be the King of Thailand off to a winning start on Tuesday. The Rocket is taking part in the short-format World Six-Reds Championship for the very first time as he builds up to chasing a record eighth world title at the Crucible next month.

World No 1 and reigning world champion O’Sullivan, 47, shrugged off a fightback from Jimmy Robertson to win his opening Group H match 5-3 in Bangkok – after leading 4-0.

And O’Sullivan will face teenage English prospect Stan Moody and veteran Thai legend James Wattana at the Thammasat University Centre on Wednesday.

His last success on Thai soil came at the 1996 Asian Classic where he beat fellow Essex pro Brian Morgan 9-8 in the final.

O’Sullivan said: “I do remember beating Brian here in the Asia Classic a very long time ago. I have had some great tournaments here.

“I also lost in the final of the Thailand Open to the local hero James Wattana, and those occasions are terrific – fantastic occasions.

“The six-reds is scary, the frames are over so quick. One mistake and it is game over. You get someone in a snooker with the reds open and they are bang in trouble if they don’t get it right.

“I wanted to experience it and I am very glad I came. I plan my year well in advance, there can be priorities, and everyone has the chance to invite me to their tournaments.

“I can’t go to them all, but I am happy to be here this year. I’d like to finish my career off in Asia, snooker is more popular here than anywhere, Thailand and China, Hong Kong.

“In Covid it was impossible but my sponsors like to see me in Asia – they are the No1 events they want me to play in. So in the future I may skip events in the UK to play the majority here.

“I had a really nice meal today in one of the riverside restaurants, but tried to keep away from all the touristy bits. It was my first day here so I had a little sleep before my first ever six-reds match.”

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