RONNIE O’Sullivan has revealed he is taking what amounts to another six-month tour sabbatical – and starting his season in earnest in November.
The Rocket lost a world championship final at the Crucible for the first time in May to Mark Selby.
But O’Sullivan, a five-time world champion, won the Champion of Champions, Masters and Welsh Open titles last term despite limited appearances.
That was considerably more than the 2012-13 campaign which saw the 38-year-old from Essex play just one losing match before lifting the most prized trophy in Sheffield.
But after playing some European Tour/PTC events in the UK and Europe last season O’Sullivan will be keeping his powder dry for the big events this time round.
He said: “I think the Champion of Champions will be my first proper tournament of the season, and obviously that is at the beginning of November.
“It was a good event in its first year with all the winners of the titles, and even though Ding Junhui won a few this time round it will be a decent line-up again.
“I did play a few of the European Tour events last season, stepping it up a bit on the one before when I got away with it a bit at the Crucible.
“But I’m not sure I’m going to be doing as many of those again and also I am unlikely to be doing too much of the main tournaments requiring a lot of long-haul travel.
“There are three big events from November to January, and I certainly plan to play in those.”
After the Champions event in November, where O’Sullivan will defend his crown, the UK Championship starts later that month in York.
And the Masters at Alexandra Palace, where O’Sullivan beat Selby in the final last season, takes place in January.
O’Sullivan is up to world No4 in the new world rankings which have been switched to a prize-money-based system – and so for the moment has slack to pick and choose events for probably at least two seasons.
Speaking from Germany on Monday, he will fill the time in the next six months playing exhibition events including Snooker Legends nights.
And he also plans to devote more time to a broadcasting and media career, with the ‘Ronnie O’Sullivan Show’ on Eurosport proving a success.
The latest comments appear to again rule out trips to China for the Shanghai Masters and International Championship, and India for the Indian Open.
There remains a chance O’Sullivan could be tempted to defend his Paul Hunter Classic trophy at the end of August, with a relatively short trip to Furth in Germany.
Photographs by Monique Limbos