”British best athlete” and “greatest golfer in history” honored above his head, “Rocket” Ronnie O’Sullivan, who was born at the end of 1975, just won the world snooker championship for the seventh time, tying the “billiards emperor” Hender In the British Championships and the Masters, he also “seven in and seven out”, winning the championship is like picking something out of a bag.
O’Sullivan has been practicing for 8 hours a day for 40 years. It is not so much diligence as he has an “addiction” physique. There are many talented or untalented top players in the billiards world, but among those who are alive and can play on stage, only O’Sullivan can be called a “master”. He’s Picasso in green tweed and Bolt in a three-piece suit.
left hand can win
O’Sullivan, an English professional snooker player, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. In May of this year, he won the World Snooker Championship for the seventh time and won a total of 21 snooker championships. In the past 40 years, in addition to setting records in various competitions, he has also experienced dizzying collapse, addiction and redemption.
In 5 minutes and 8 seconds, O’Sullivan scored 36 goals, an average of 8.5 seconds. unprecedented.
O’Sullivan didn’t understand. Most of the time, he felt like a liar. He wins only because others lose. “I probably know who I am, but I don’t like what I am. Do you understand what I mean?”
O’Sullivan held the pole with his right hand when he debuted, and later practiced with his left hand, and he can also beat others. In the 1996 World Championships, he was left-handed for the first time, and Canadian players thought he was insulting. In order to prove respect for his opponent, O’Sullivan was asked to use his left hand to play 3 games with former British World Championship runner-up Rex Williams and won all of them.
Snooker is a “macroscopic” combination of Newton’s laws and geometry. The item includes 22 balls, 1 white, 15 red, 6 colorful. Players have to take turns hitting the ball and try to score as many points as possible. The white ball is the main ball and is used to hit other balls. First, the balls are hit in the order of one red and one color. After all the red balls are pocketed, the players arrange the hitting order according to the points on the colored balls. Once no balls can be hit, the table must be given over to the opponent.
In professional competitions, O’Sullivan scored a single stroke 15 times (scoring 15 red balls and 1 black ball in a row, 120 points, and then scoring all colored balls in a row, plus 27 points, a total of 147 points), and In the 1997 World Championships, O’Sullivan scored 36 balls in 5 minutes and 8 seconds, the fastest full-scoring shot, with an average of 8.5 seconds. unprecedented.
In the final of the 2008 World Snooker Championship, O’Sullivan used the left hand to hold the pole
This battle was as fast as “Rocket”, but this nickname came from more than ten years ago. O’Sullivan broke a hundred points in a single stroke at the age of 10, scored a perfect score in a single stroke at the age of 15, turned professional at the age of 16, and won his first championship title at the age of 17 – the British Championship, becoming the youngest snooker champion at that time .
No one would have thought that a kid from Ilford, northeast London, would rewrite the history of snooker.
Snooker was born in 1875 and was invented by British military officers in British colonial India. For the next hundred years, snooker was played mainly in gentlemen’s clubs and gangster pool halls. In the late 1970s, Barry Hearn, a sports tycoon with a keen sense of smell, single-handedly pushed the bar entertainment event snooker into the golden age of commercial events.
The number of viewers is the best proof of the golden age. Billiards superstar “Hurricane” Alex Higgins won his first world championship in 1972, and 100 good people came to Birmingham to watch. Ten years later, he won his second world championship, with 1,000 spectators in the arena and more than 10 million TV viewers.
With the blessing of money, snooker moved towards a broader and richer market, and the young O’Sullivan emerged in the early 1990s. Compared with his predecessors, he is fiercer, ruder, and more talented.
Life is like “snooker”
Snooker (Snooker) means “obstacle, obstacle”. One party controls the cue ball to hide behind one or more non-target balls, so that the other party cannot use the cue ball to hit the target ball in a straight line, which is called “doing snooker”. .
In O’Sullivan’s life, he was also suddenly “snookered” by fate, which made him unable to extricate himself and his career unable to advance.
The late 1980s was the pinnacle of the snooker event, and the “prodigy” O’Sullivan’s chubby little face was all over the snooker magazines. His father, “Big Ron,” was a big, witty man who would buy 20 cups of tea if there were 20 people in the room watching the game. His kid is going to be a world champion, no one is against it.
By 1992, the three superstars in snooker history O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams played at the same time. They were all born in 1975, also known as the “Three Heroes of 75”.
O’Sullivan, who has just become a professional player, is competing for a ticket to the next season’s championship. In this marathon knockout, he won the first 38 games and 36 of the last 38 games. But the day after his final win, his father was found guilty of murder. Three years later, his mother Maria was sentenced for tax evasion.
On December 14, 2017, Scottish Open, O’Sullivan rested during the game
As a result, his game and emotions are often out of control. He gets so drunk every weekend that he sometimes walks away in the middle of a game. Thinking that the opponent was too slow, he simply slept on the chair and snored. He was fined £20,000 for headbutting a referee. When he was unhappy, he would put his middle finger up, and he would never leave his mouth with “national scolding”. He was also disqualified from the championship for smoking marijuana. At 25, he called a suicide hotline and started taking Prozac.
He desperately needed a system of thought to understand himself, and Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam all ended up with little success. After overcoming his addiction to marijuana, out of perfectionistic paranoia, he tried to treat addiction areas one by one, and even went to an irrelevant sex addiction treatment class.
In 2009, his father was released from prison for the first time. At this time, O’Sullivan had won many championships, but his condition was very poor, and his income fell from about 750,000 pounds a year to 150,000 pounds. In four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, he lost all in the first round.
When O’Sullivan visited in the spring of 2011, it looked like a mess, recalls psychiatry professor Steve Peters. Peters proposed the “chimpanzee paradox” to explain how the brain works: There is a rational “human” part and an instinctive “chimpanzee” part of the brain at the same time, and the two areas compete fiercely, and professional athletes need to manage the latter.
His father was convicted of murder. Three years later, his mother Maria was sentenced for tax evasion.
O’Sullivan admitted that since his father’s imprisonment, struggling to find peace and self-defeating have alternated forever. Encouraged by Peters, he used ability and honor to overcome his fear time and time again, but the fear always popped up in small places.
Running has become O’Sullivan’s new “addiction”, and alcohol and drugs are left behind. As a child, his father followed him and supervised the runs. While his father was in prison, his running also stopped, and he was once fat to a 37-inch waist.
After returning to running, he wrote an autobiography, Running, calling running “my belief system.” “It makes me less moody, less self-loathing, and I feel better about myself.”
From the bright pool room to the dark mountain trail, O’Sullivan is no longer a once-in-a-lifetime talent, just an exhausted runner . “I know I’m one of those untalented runners, and there’s not much I can do but train hard. I’ll look at the best guys and think it’d be nice to be them,”
he said. He changed the subject: ” Just like a person who is almost 30 years old and wants to become a top snooker player, even if he plays for another 100 years, he will not be close to me.”
snooker has only one star
Before 2012, O’Sullivan was already a successful athlete: he had the fastest 147-point stroke in history, three world championships, a miracle of nine rounds of five wins and a single stroke of more than 100, and painful collapses and accidents. of retirement. He and his peers John Higgins and Mark Williams had the same achievements, but they didn’t surpass each other too much. If the “Rocket” story ends here, people will also admit that the “talented player” and “bad boy” are worth remembering.
Snooker lovers are in luck. Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, who ruled the 1980s and 1990s successively, became silent after the age of 30, while O’Sullivan’s career was “old and strong”.
In 2012, in the first round of the German Masters, O’Sullivan almost couldn’t keep his position in the top 16, and fell behind 0-4 at one point. Some fans said that moment was like facing Schumacher and announcing his retirement after the Monza game-a genius lost There is only one game. In the end, O’Sullivan won five consecutive rounds, reversed and won, and won the German Masters championship all the way. He won the fourth World Championships that year, and has since climbed to the peak of the “Master”.
In fact, as the age increases, the accuracy and stability of the golfer’s long table will inevitably decline, and O’Sullivan, who is proficient in skills, is no exception. However, O’Sullivan defeated a series of new-generation masters such as Trump, Ding Junhui, Selby, and Roberts, mainly relying on strategic planning rather than skills.
On February 2, 2012, O’Sullivan at the German Masters
Snooker pays attention to strength, angle, calculation and emotional management. The direction and speed of the white ball’s rotation, sliding and braking must be exactly the same. In a game, there are both charming moves and smooth offenses that emphasize both strength and skill, as well as ingenious strategies and sinister defenses, and collisions caused by small differences can produce unexpected drama.
O’Sullivan has the ability to simplify. The vast majority of top players play step by step, playing the easy ones first, and at the same time giving a little space to the difficult ones, finishing all the balls that can be played, and then performing major surgery on the remaining positions. Before major surgery, they have already established a clear advantage, and there is no need to take any more risks.
And O’Sullivan went straight to the core when he came up, lined up his troops at the break point, and then the wind and clouds hit Huanglong. To break the situation first is extremely risky and requires strong ability, courage and self-confidence. This is his magnificent contribution to changing snooker.
Player Dominic Dell commented on O’Sullivan: “Seamless technology, perfect and clear thinking, impeccable stance, hands-on victory, watching him hit the ball is a kind of enjoyment. I didn’t realize my attention until I was on the court. The power is scattered.” The
British “Independent” sports commentator commented that the reason why snooker is still valuable is precisely because O’Sullivan is still playing at the table, and he is the absolute box office guarantee of the game. His lonely pursuit of defeat is precisely Snoke’s misfortune.
The game of snooker has declined. In terms of prize money, the prize money for the champion of the Masters is 150,000 pounds, and the prize money for the champion of the World Championships is 250,000 pounds. Compared with the prize money for the million-dollar championship in golf and tennis, it is quite shabby. Take O’Sullivan as an example. When he won more than 40 championships, the total prize money was less than 6 million pounds.
Taking the number of spectators as an example, the number of spectators is also getting smaller and smaller. During the Wembley Masters in 2009, O’Sullivan played against Joe Perry. There were 2,100 fans at the scene and only a few million TV viewers. In 1985, Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis’ long World Championship final “black ball fight” set a historical record of 18.5 million TV viewers.
O’Sullivan bluntly said that the biggest problem with snooker is ignoring the market, and Barry Hearn, who has entrepreneurial thinking and marketing capabilities, is needed to help snooker adapt to modern society.
Although the two major commercial events created-the Snooker Premier League and the UEFA Cup are still in operation, Barry Hearn believes that snooker is a thing of the past. He said that billiards is now only supported by a group of loyal fans, and it is by no means a popular sport or event. “The market has changed, the way of entertainment has changed, but snooker has not changed, it is still so dignified and decent.”
Even new talents no longer appear. The “Three Heroes of 75” have already occupied three of the top eight in the world. Among the top 16 players in the world, only two players are under 30 years old, namely Chinese players Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao.
O’Sullivan was surprised. When he first entered the industry, the situation was just the opposite. “Zhao Xintong has not been proven yet. He is 25 years old and is no longer a child. I know he has won the UK Championship and the German Masters, but looking at Hendry’s resume at the same time, he has already won three or four world championships. .”
He didn’t mention himself. When he was 25 years old, he won three championships in the three major competitions. Combined with ranking and non-ranking competitions, he won a total of 20 championships.
Times have indeed changed. Professional athletes view the game as a career: family investment, personal effort, and a step-by-step quest for rankings and prize money. They are no longer “chosen” child prodigies, using the “hand of God” to manipulate the collision of small balls. In a sense, they don’t need to fight with the “chimpanzee” in their brains.
Except for O’Sullivan, today’s snooker has no stars.