RONNIE O’SULLIVAN has revealed he often felt suicidal playing snooker – even if he was winning – as he is such a perfectionist.
Despite his outrageous skill with a snooker cue, able to play both right and left-handed, “Rocket” is famously harsh on himself.
And now O’Sullivan, 44, has opened up about feeling “suicidal” if he played badly – even if he won his match.
Speaking to fellow legend Stephen Hendry on Instagram, O’Sullivan revealed: “I just want to be the best that I can be.
“I’ve played tournaments, played terrible, but won, then felt suicidal.
“But I’ve lost matches, played really well and thought, ‘Yeah, I can’t wait for the next tournament!’
“For me it was about how I played, and that’s the wrong way to be and that’s why I’ve changed.
“It’s about getting through, getting the job done, live to fight another day. “
O’Sullivan has been working with sports psychologist Steve Peters since 2011 in a bid to beat his demons.
Peters has worked with many a sports star, including the GB cycling team and entire Team GB squad at the 2012 Olympic Games.
And O’Sullivan has credited Peters with getting his mind right, having once been “all over the gaff”.
The five-time world champion continued: “Once the penny dropped, working with Steve Peters, it’s very hard to go back to how I was pre-Steve Peters.
“I was all over the gaff really.
“Yeah, I’d win tournaments if I was on it, but if I wasn’t I had no chance really.
“Whereas now, I’ve won so many tournaments where I’ve gone into it feeling like I’m playing absolutely terrible.
“Because I’ve had the right mindset I’ve worked my way into it, got to the quarters, started to fly and then won other tournaments off the back of it.
‘That wouldn’t have happened pre-Steve Peters. I’m a much better winning machine than I was.”
Peters started helping O’Sullivan in 2011, with the snooker legend winning the world title in 2012 and 2013.
And after that second victory, Peters revealed: “When Ronnie approached me he expressed what he wanted to do with his emotions, his mind, his thinking and the frustrations of why he couldn’t do that.
“I see people, when I work with them, as students really.
“All I’m there to do is to give them the equipment to deal with their minds, to work with it the way they want to work with it.
“Ronnie’s been an amazing student.
“We all feel pressure under certain circumstances and Ronnie’s saying he’s learned how to deal with it now, rather than just succumb to it and react to it.
“It’s a learning process. He’s much better this year than he was, he’s making improvements so long may it continue.’