Ronnie O'Sullivan

Car crash scare may help me overcome fear of flying

Ronnie O'Sullivan

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Five-times world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan is relishing his return to competitive action after defeat to Mark Selby at the Crucible in May.

He is due to play in the Paul Hunter Classic (22-24 August) in Germany before competing at the Shanghai Masters in September (8-14).

In his first exclusive blog of the new snooker season, Ronnie tells Eurosport's Desmond Kane why he is determined to get to grips with his dislike of flying to tournaments overseas.

He also discusses his latest plans for the season, and why he'd like to see snooker become part of the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

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We've had some great summer weather over the past few weeks, and I've been trying to enjoy life as much as possible.

Since losing to Mark in the final of the World Championship back in May, I've had time to get away, relax, recharge the batteries so to speak and now I'm relishing getting back to playing the game I love.

You do miss snooker after a while, and I can feel the adrenaline coming back after picking up a cue to start practising again. I'm just back from a few days in the south of France.

It is a lovely part of the world. I enjoyed Nice, but you can't stay on holiday forever.

I've been away from snooker for over three months, and I'm looking forward to getting back into it.

I like Shanghai a lot. I love the city, the people and the venue. It is an exciting place to visit and play snooker so I thought it would be a good idea to play there this season.

I can use the PTC in Germany as my first tournament of the season before Shanghai which is another enjoyable event.

They always have appreciative crowds in Germany - I'm looking forward to getting out there.

I'm not a great flyer, of course. I'm not the only person who isn't a fan of flying, but since the incident in the car after the world final when I spun off the road with young Ronnie with me, I've come to realise that flying is no less or more dangerous than driving. I just need to get to grips with it, and be sensible and logical about it.

I'm trying to embrace the journeys more that require me to fly especially with so much of the snooker calendar now being played overseas.

I went to a tournament in Germany last year by train, and it took me around 15 hours. It was so exhausting, and I thought if I'm going to give it my best shot at playing well, I need to get my head around flying.

I've been to courses about flying to get my head around it. I've just got to go through with it otherwise I won't be able to play properly.

I get a few sweaty palms when a plane takes off, and when we're in the air I'm always thinking to myself what is going on out there. Sounds silly I know, but a lot of people don't really take to it. It just has to be done to get to the tournaments I really want to compete in.

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12 tournaments will help me peak for snooker's big three

I'm looking at playing a few tournaments in China, and maybe a couple in Germany. And that will be it. If I add them to the UK tournaments, that would give me a total of around 12 for the season which is not a bad number.

The Wuxi Classic would have been a decent one to do in June, but I thought to myself I'll have a little break and when I go to China, I'll do a few other things over there with sponsors and the fans to make the trip worthwhile. My manager has been sorting out a few things so I spend my time wisely if I do go abroad.

I'm doing an ambassadorial role for certain companies in China. I'm happy to give my time to certain people, but the majority of time will always be spent preparing properly to be ready for the tournament. It just makes it a good trip for me, but of course I'm 100 percent focused to try to win the title.

There is obviously loads of work in China. Stephen (Hendry) does a lot of work out there. I could spend most of my time in China, and do unbelievably well financially, but I like my family life at home and my main aim is to compete well and win titles in the sport.

Traditionally, the three main trophies in the game are the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Championship. The strategy moving forward is trying to get yourself match sharp to compete in those three events.

All the other tournaments are very important of course, but I use them as a good gauge to hone your game, and get yourself ready for the big three.

It is not the end of the world if I don't play in every tournament because there are three in the game that I measure myself by.

I'm tweaking my schedule this season to make sure I'm not overplayed or underplayed going into those tournaments. I think that happened a bit last year.

I didn't make too many mistakes last season. I lost in the last eight at the UK, won the Masters and lost in the final of the World Championship. That isn't a bad record, but you are always looking to improve yourself.

I should probably have played Beijing before the worlds, but it is important not to make too big a deal out of it and not panic. Panic and worrying about things isn't going to help you in life or snooker.

You have to have the self-belief not to panic in life. You can't change the past, but you can learn from it. I did what I did last year, the chips fell where they fell and I have tweaked it this year.

If you panic and start questioning why you did what you did in life, you would lose the plot. Hopefully, the schedule this season will help me as much as possible to be more competitive.

Snooker's new money list rewards the game's top players

The money list is a good idea. Like in golf where you have the FedExCup, it rewards the guys who do well in the main events and gives you a chance to get ready for the bigger tournaments.

I picked up as much money from reaching the World Championship final as some players earned from 20 events over the season. That makes sure most of the top players will always be in the top 16 at tournaments, and I think that is how it should be for the benefit of the sport moving forward.

Running helps me maintain energy at the table

I'm not sure running is entirely beneficial to my form playing snooker, but I do think that without it I'd end up overweight, unfit and be unenergetic around the table. When your game is based on high energy, I think that is where putting the hard yards in does pay off.

Sometimes I'm guilty of over-training, and running twice a day can lead to injuries. I have to tone it down a bit before a major event so I'm ready for that.

Snooker could be part of the Commonwealth and Olympic Games

I've been watching bits and pieces of the Commonwealth Games. I must admit to being a bit disappointed Usain Bolt didn't do the 100m. I think everybody wanted to see him run that.

I think snooker has a good claim to be in the Commonwealth Games and maybe the Olympics in the future. There are some strange sports in there, and snooker is a demanding test of the mind and stamina as much as golf.

Olympic sports aren't just about blokes bounding around a track. I think snooker would be a popular addition to any future Games whether that be at the Commonwealths or Olympics.

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