Video: Playing me is like "their Cup final" believes Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan believes opponents treat matches against him as 'their Cup final' after seeing his run without silverware extend to 10 months.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

The five-time world champion - arguably the most gifted snooker player in history - has not tasted success since winning the Welsh Open in February.

He has lost in three major finals in 2016, the latest being Sunday’s 10-7 defeat to world No 1 Mark Selby in the Betway UK Championship.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

O’Sullivan also lost against Judd Trump at the European Masters and John Higgins at the Champion of Champions.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

But the 41-year-old is adamant he can still add to his impressive haul of silverware, which includes 28 ranking titles - second only to Stephen Hendry.

“I don’t feel like I have a rivalry with anybody, I have done what I have done in the game and my record speaks for itself,” said Masters champion O’Sullivan.

“It seems like everyone plays me it’s their cup final, a bit like when Hendry was in his day.

“I know I give good entertainment, good value, and get support from all over the world.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

“If I stop missing easy balls I know I can win tournaments again, but if I keep missing I am not going to win.

“You just can’t gift top quality players easy chances, you have to make them fight for it.”

O’Sullivan has a new-found respect for Selby after famously describing the world champion as the “torturer” such was his granite-like displays on the table.

Where O’Sullivan is the swashbuckling rebel who scores heavily and swiftly, Selby is more conservative and a master tactician.

But O’Sullivan - who threatened a comeback after clawing his way back from 7-2 to 8-7 at the York Barbican - has revealed time spent on tour with Selby, plus a spell as a TV pundit, has given him a new perspective.

“We spent some time on the exhibition circuit, I like his mindset and I know he is in the game for the right reasons,” said O’Sullivan, denied the chance to equal Steve Davis’s record of six UK crowns.

“He’s a good lad and a fierce competitor on the table.

“I know if he does go a bit slow, with long drawn-out frames, it’s not just because he is playing me, that’s how it sometimes goes for him.

“I know it’s not intentional, he’s just a tough match-player.

“With me I just go out there and hit them with everything I have got, like a wall I just try to walk right through it.

“With Mark, he will just try and defend, defend and make it difficult for you at times.

“Equally, he can go for his shots and attack. He can adapt and play that game as well. I am not, I just eat the balls.

"Mark's done well to him so congratulations to him. I enjoyed my game, I just missed too many balls to win tournaments.

"There were so many I should have got and probably two or three years ago would have got. In spells I was okay but 'spells' is not good enough. If you want to dominate and strike fear into your opponent you can't afford to miss easy chances.

"He's a fantastic player, he's won a lot of tournaments and he's a very tough match player. He's got the all-round game.”

O’Sullivan is back in action on Wednesday at the Barnsley Metrodome when he faces Leeds-born Darryl Hill in the f66.com German Masters qualifiers.

There is a strong Leeds contingent, with Sanderson Lam playing Martin Gould (Tuesday), Oliver Lines facing Jamie Jones (Tuesday), Peter Lines tackles Yu De Lu (Wednesday) and David Grace meets Jack Lisowski (Wednesday).

Sheffield’s Adam Duffy takes on Mei Xi Wen (Thursday), Pickering’s Paul Davison faces Judd Trump (Thursday), while Doncaster’s Chris Keogan plays Brandon Sargeant (Wednesday).