O'Sullivan owes it to convict dad - English cueist becomes only the fourth player to win world crown more than once

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By (AFP) in Sheffield
  • Published 5.05.04

Sheffield: English cueist Ronnie ‘Rocket’ O’Sullivan won the world snooker title for the second time beating Scotsman Graeme Dott by 18 frames to eight and pocketed a cheque for £250,000.

The 28-year-old was in devastating form on Monday as he won nine of the 10 frames and became only the fourth player to win the world crown more than once — a remarkable feat after trailing 0-5 on the opening day of the final.

“This one’s for my dad,” said a tearful O’Sullivan referring to his father who is serving a life sentence for murder.

“He’s my man,” added O’Sullivan, whose mother Maria only decided to come and watch shortly before Monday’s afternoon session but ended up in an emotional hug with her after he clinched the title. O’Sullivan also paid handsome tribute to Wales’s six-time world champion Ray Reardon, who had become his psychological guru after receiving a call from the O’Sullivan’s father four months ago asking him to help him out.

“Ray added a new dimension to my game, he really improved me in certain areas — there’s still room for improvement,” said O’Sullivan, who sported a set of false teeth in making fun of Reardon’s famed ‘Dracula’-style pair.

“The way Ray explains things he would have won it — he’s made me enjoy the game more. I love being around him, he’s a top man.”

Reardon for his part said he had been more apprehensive than the champion.

“I think I was more nervous watching him than when I was playing. He’s not the rocket — he’s the magician!” said the Welshman, whose compatriot and another former world champion Terry Griffiths was responsible for motivating Mark Williams to the title last year.

While O’Sullivan said that it had been a bit of an anti-climax for Dott after holding such a big lead but he still maintained his rival was no fluke in getting into the final.

“People were saying it would be a one sided final, well I tell you what, I knew it wasn’t going to be. Graeme’s got quality written all over him, he’s up there with the big boys and beaten some great players to get to the final,” said O’Sullivan, who courted controversy earlier in the tournament when he raised a finger to a pocket after failing to pot a ball.

O’Sullivan said that he had desire to try new things in the sport.

“I want to play a season left-handed, I think it would help my overall armoury,” said the Englishman, who was once heavily criticised for being disrespectful to an opponent when he played a left-handed shot during a match.

“I’d like to win another four or five world titles, you’ve got to set yourself high targets.”

For Dott, it was also a great achievement having never made it past the second round and who had come close to retiring from the sport late last year and smashed his cue in a motorway service station in January in despair at his poor form.