World Snooker Championship 2020: Ronnie O'Sullivan makes Prince William comparison

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Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 31 July-16 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and Red Button, with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app. Full details and times.

Ronnie O’Sullivan says the pressure on him from an early age of one day becoming world champion was similar to the expectation surrounding Prince William becoming king.

O’Sullivan, 44, claimed a ranking event aged 17 and now has five world titles.

“I have had that expectation level from the age of 10 or 11, that I was going to be champion one day,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

“In many ways it is like Prince William groomed to be king one day.”

He added: “If you said to me, ‘do you want Prince William’s role?’ I would not know where to begin.

“He has had it since childhood and it has become natural. For me, it is the same metaphor for snooker.”

Fans favourite O’Sullivan began his quest for a first Crucible title since 2013 in emphatic manner with the fastest victory ever seen at the venue – a 10-1 rout of Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in a mere 108 minutes.

The enigmatic O’Sullivan, who suggested snooker players were being treated like “lab rats” when spectators were initially allowed into the Crucible at the start of the championship, faces a difficult match with Ding Junhui in round two.

O’Sullivan said China’s top-ranked player, who won his third UK Championship in December and reached the world final in 2016, has experienced a similar weight of expectation as he has.

“Ding has delivered fantastically well in all events in China and has done brilliant with that sort of pressure on him,” said O’Sullivan, who has won a record-equalling 36 ranking events.

“As a youngster I have learnt to deal with playing under pressure in amateur and professional ranks so I don’t see it as there being pressure but something you learn how to handle.”

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