World Snooker Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan 'wasn't in fit state'

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
I struggled to handle pressure - O'Sullivan
2016 World Snooker Championship
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April - 2 May
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport app, Connected TVs and online.

Ronnie O'Sullivan says he is struggling to deal with the expectation of being snooker's "figurehead".

The five-time champion, 40, failed to reach the World Championship quarter-finals for only the second time in 13 years as he lost to Barry Hawkins.

Afterwards he revealed his difficulty in handling his "responsibilities", pointing to his media no-show after his first-round win over David Gilbert.

"I wasn't in a fit state to really come and speak to you guys," he said.

"I find it difficult being the figurehead of the sport. All the attention is on me and there is a big expectation from everybody on me, including myself.

"For various reasons, I wasn't in a state to speak. It wasn't that I was being arrogant or thinking I'm shirking my responsibilities."

O'Sullivan was warned about his future conduct by World Snooker after ignoring his media duties following the victory over Gilbert.

He apologised for his absence, saying: "Everything wasn't OK, but I don't want to go into detail."

He added: "I want to say thank you to a few people, they know who they are, who looked after me for three or four days after my first match.

"Hopefully, with their help and support, I can manage the pressure and stress I put on myself and that comes from you guys.

"You make out I've won this tournament before I've even turned up, which can be difficult in such an intense environment.

"I have to deal with that and I think I've found a way to deal with that.

"I've done well for 25 years and you have little moments in your career where you kind of go a bit brittle. But I feel strong now and I look forward to coming back."

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