World Snooker Betting: Has Ronnie found the fuel to fire the Rocket?

Ronnie O'Sullivan feels the tension as he goes for a sixth title
Ronnie O'Sullivan feels the tension as he goes for a sixth title

If it's Sheffield it must be a Ronnie O'Sullivan row - he faces a fine after losing his temper yesterday. Ralph Ellis says it might just be what the five-times World Champion needs to get his act together...

"Think back to the Welsh Open when he put the tournament on the back pages for several days by turning down a 147 break because the £10,000 prize money wasn’t worth it. By the end of the week, having fired himself up with all the controversy, he’d collected six times that for the first prize."

So who said this about the World Snooker Championships? "It's not about the best player who wins this tournament, it's about the guy who can hold himself together. It's not about playing brilliant match after brilliant match, sometimes it's about steadying the ship."

Yes, you've guessed it, Ronnie O'Sullivan. The same Ronnie O'Sullivan who finished his first round win over David Gilbert by storming past the BBC interview man and then, reportedly, ranting and raving in his dressing room.

"Banging, crashing and swearing," was how one source described what went on behind the locked door. And if that's a steady ship, you'd hate to be on board the one in stormy seas.

Ronnie was nicknamed The Rocket in deference to the speed at which he works around the table as he rattles balls into pockets. But it could just as easily be because of the fireworks he has always created.

He has his guru Doctor Steve Peters with him in Sheffield this year as he attempts to match the six titles won by Steve Davis - and it looks as if the psychiatrist who invented the concept of 'the Inner Chimp' will be having to work overtime to stop any more monkey business.

Despite yesterday's tantrums, O'Sullivan is a massive 2.829/5 favourite to win the title and if it was anybody else you'd be laying that all day long. How can any man emerge victorious from 17 long days at The Crucible if his mental state is so fragile?

But in this case we're not talking about a mere mortal. O'Sullivan is that rare talent who thrives on creating a bit of drama and by the time he pays his fine for refusing to fulfil his media commitments - which might be as little as £250 - he will have given himself a cause to fight for.

Think back to February and the Welsh Open, when he put the tournament on the back pages for several days by turning down the chance to make a 147 break because he said the £10,000 prize money wasn't worth it. By the end of the week, having fired himself up with all the controversy, he'd collected six times that for the first prize.

Until yesterday I'd fancied 8.07/1 third favourite Judd Trump as the best value. For once he's come into the big tournament on top form after winning the China Open. A first round match tomorrow against Liang Wenbo, who beat him in the UK finals, is a chance to exorcise a few demons and get his campaign underway.

I've already got my money on Trump, but O'Sullivan has become the big danger. It was Mark Williams who spelled it out when we did the Betfair Big Interview back in January.

"There's not one player that can get anywhere near Ronnie's standard," the Welshman told Betfair.

If that's true - and it is - the only person who can beat O'Sullivan is the man himself if his mental state is all wrong. For anybody else his tantrum would be a sign of troubles. For him it might just be the fuel that will fire the Rocket.

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