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Great expectations: O’Sullivan compares himself to Prince William

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan compares the expectation placed on him at an early age to that of Prince William being groomed to be king one day.

The mercurial 44-year-old quintuple world champion said the expectations placed on him were similar to those of William who is second in line to the throne.

O’Sullivan — who faces Chinese star Ding Junhui in an eye-catching second round world championship tussle — has certainly delivered since winning his first world ranking tournament aged 17.      

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

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

“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.”

O’Sullivan says Ding has also had that weight of expectation placed on him, by snooker fans back in China.

Ding has thus far reached the world final just once — losing to Mark Selby in 2016 — and the semi-finals twice.

“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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