RONNIE O’SULLIVAN admitted he felt “rusty” after safely securing a place in the second round of the BetVictor Welsh Open on Wednesday night.

O’Sullivan defeated amateur Mitchell Travis 4-1 at the Newport Centre in his first competitive match since he won the Masters for a fifth time last month.

And the reigning world champion said afterwards he was looking for a good run in the Welsh Open with the Crucible showpiece coming around again.

“I was a bit rusty there because I haven’t really picked up my cue since the Masters. I’ve only played three or four hours in a month so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen here,” O’Sullivan said.

“So to get through the first game is nice. That’s the most I’ve played in a whole month. I’ve got a few days now to get some practise and try and sharpen my game up.

“I need to have a good run in this because I’ve not entered Haikou or Beijing. I’ve had a result that the PTC finals has been moved from Thailand because I wouldn’t have played in that either. It’ll suit my lifestyle if it’s in England. I’m not into long term travelling.

“I’d like to have a few decent matches here but the reality is I didn’t play one tournament last year and I still won the World Championship.

“Does it mean that if you do well in every tournament and play consistently well that you’ll win the Worlds? Obviously not because last year I proved to myself I could just play one event and win it. I’m not saying I can do that all the time but it just shows you what’s possible.”


Photographs by Monique Limbos.