World Snooker 2012: Ronnie O'Sullivan issues warning

By Ben DirsBBC Sport at the Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan said he would follow through with his threat to retire unless snooker boss Barry Hearn stopped "blackmailing" the sport's players.

O'Sullivan, who beat Ali Carter 18-11 to win his fourth world title, will assess his options after a sabbatical.

"There's a bit more left in the tank but it's up to certain people to do the right thing and stop trying to blackmail players," said O'Sullivan.

"I'm not going to hang around for two more years for things to become fair."

Talking about the schedule, Hearn said last week: "It's all part of being a professional and they've got to get used to it. I couldn't have less sympathy."

But O'Sullivan, who at 36 years and five months is the oldest player to win the world title since his former mentor Ray Reardon in 1978, is unhappy with World Snooker chairman Hearn's revamped 50-week, 27-event tour, which will take full effect next year.

The Essex player said the rigours of the extra workload led to him falling ill last December and that he had decided to put his family first.

"Part of me still wants to play but I was that ill trying to keep up with the schedule, getting letters from World Snooker, and I'm not prepared to put myself under that stress," said O'Sullivan.

"I know there's a big responsibility to promote the game and I'd play in any tournament if it was physically possible.

"But it's up to the governing body to treat the players right and say they don't expect players to travel to 27 tournaments a year.

"I've had a long time to think about everything, it's not a knee-jerk reaction. I'm not saying I have retired but family has become the most important thing in my life.

"They [World Snooker] have a chance to sort things out but I've made plans. I'm having a good four, five, six months off and then I'll assess the situation.

"I'm quite happy to move on if I have to and enter another world where there aren't those types of restrictions on me. Maybe a bit of Strictly [Come Dancing], maybe a bit of punditry."

Meanwhile, O'Sullivan paid tribute to his mental coach, Dr Steve Peters, whom he credits with turning his game around.

"If I was Man City I would go and buy him," said O'Sullivan of the man who is psychiatrist to the British cycling team.

"He's helped me understand that my brain is a machine and if you manage it you can do everything you want to.

"Deep down I love to play snooker but I've got too involved in it. I live and breathe this game and I was too wrapped up in trying to be perfect.

"You can't be perfect, but as long as you give it your best that's all you can do. He's enabled me to be happy in my life and enjoy my snooker as well."

Runner-up Carter, who was considering retirement at the start of the year, found it hard to be upbeat about his achievement, which came as he battles Crohn's disease.

Carter has managed it well during his stay in Sheffield, in part due to a high intake of carrot juice, juiced each day in his dressing room.

He said: "I'm just disappointed to lose. I didn't feel I played well in the final.

"Ronnie put me under all sorts of pressure. His safety game was unbelievable. I was just under it from the start."

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