Ronnie O’Sullivan claims he ‘hasn’t played as bad as this for eight or nine years’

Ronnie O’Sullivan is playing his ‘bad game’ at the moment (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan claims he ‘hasn’t played as bad as this for eight or nine years’ despite booking his place in the last 16 of the Northern Ireland Open.

The Rocket has beaten Oliver Lines, Lei Peifan and Staurt Carrington to set up a clash with Yuan Sijun in the fourth round, but is far from happy with how he is playing.

After beating Carrington 4-1, winning four frames on the bounce, including breaks of 80, 75 and 94, O’Sullivan was downbeat about his performance and chances of winning the tournament.

‘I think I should have lost really, he had so many chances, it’s unbelievable really,’ the five-time world champion told Eurosport.

‘To be honest with you I don’t think I’ve felt or played as bad as this for eight or nine years now.

‘This is my bad game and it’s good enough to win me a few matches, great. If I hit a bit of form, who knows?

‘You can’t play how I’ve been playing and expect to win tournaments, so I’ve just got to wait for something to click, if it clicks.

‘I think it’s standard for everyone. My bad game is still good enough to give me chance, but I don’t fancy my chances.

‘It keeps me competing, when most people’s bad game, they’ll probably fall off the tour, so I’m just happy to compete when I’m nowhere near as good as I can be.’

O’Sullivan has suffered some surprising defeats so far this season, losing to Mei Xiwen at the English Open and Dominic Dale at the World Open.

He did pick up the Shanghai Masters, so his game is there to some extent, but after skipping the China Championship, International Championship and Riga Masters, he just thinks he has not played enough to be at his best.

‘If you want to run around and enter every tournament that’s great, you’re probably going to benefit from it, but that’s not going to work for me,’ Ronnie continued.

‘It’s probably that I don’t play enough and eventually it catches up with you, it’s like an exam, if you don’t study hard enough, put the hours in, you can only get away with so much.

‘But I’m happy with my life, do what I do, and I have to accept what comes my way.’

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