Ronnie O'Sullivan: World champion 'pushed luck' with drugs

World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has revealed he feared being caught by drug testers and "pushed his luck" between tournaments early in his career.

O'Sullivan, who won a fifth world title in May, has had well-documented issues with drink, drugs and depression.

"I remember getting to every World Championship and thinking, 'I can't wait 'til this tournament is over'," O'Sullivan wrote in his autobiography.

"'Cos then there's no more drug tests, I can go out and smash it.'"

Ronnie O'Sullivan factfile

Ronnie O'Sullivan
  • Born 5 December 1975
  • Made his first century break aged 10
  • Turned professional aged 16
  • Became youngest winner of a ranking tournament aged 17 at the 1993 UK Championship
  • Won first world title in 2001, beating John Higgins
  • Won world titles in 2004 and 2008
  • Won 2012 world title but, on 6 November, announced he was taking a break
  • On 23 February, 2013, he announced return
  • In May 2013 wins a fifth world title - the first back-to-back winner in 17 years

The 37-year-old lost his 1998 Irish Masters crown after testing positive for cannabis and suffered numerous problems as he looked for stability on and off the table.

With both parents jailed for different offences, O'Sullivan's private life was rarely not mentioned, and he had spells in the Priory clinic to treat his addictions.

"I'd got caught once in my career, but that's all," he stated in his new book 'Running', which is being serialised in the Sun. 

"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'."

Stability has followed in later life and O'Sullivan's win at the Crucible this year saw him become the first man to successfully defend the title in 17 years.

He remains snooker's leading name  and the biggest draw for the fans, despite his constant run-ins with authority and numerous threats to quit. 

He claims, though, that the sport often got in his way of seeking a good time.

"When I was having my weekly benders and my private life was in bits, I had a brilliant year professionally," he said.

"I loved a joint. The only problem with a joint is that one spliff follows another, and another," he added of his cannabis use.

"(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 '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."