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Ronnie O’Sullivan reveals “imposter syndrome” feeling after victory over Matthew Stevens

Jonathan Davies in UK Championship

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O’Sullivan says his recent triumphs have made him feel “fake” (Taka G.Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Ronnie O’Sullivan admitted a feeling of “imposter syndrome” after launching his UK Championship campaign with victory over Matthew Stevens.

The Rocket began his latest quest for a record-extending eighth title with a 6-2 win over 2003 champion Stevens, hitting breaks of 107, 102, 94, 81 and 73 along the way.

O’Sullivan is targeting his fourth silverware of 2022, having captured his seventh World crown in May before landing the Hong Kong Masters and Champion of Champions at the start of this season.

But the 21-time Triple Crown winner admitted his recent triumphs have felt “fake,” while suggesting there may be “a plot” enabling him to keep winning.

“I feel like I’ve got a bit of imposter syndrome,” he told Eurosport. “I felt happier when I lost them five finals [in the 2020-21 season] because it felt right.

“But when I started to win a few tournaments, I don’t feel like I deserve it, I’ve not played well enough.

“I feel like there’s been a plot to allow me to do it. You feel like a bit of a fake, I feel a bit not good about that.

“When I won the Worlds [in May], it wasn’t really a great thing for me because it put me in that place again of questioning myself and my game.

“I was happier when I was not winning as much, I don’t know why. I keep a diary and there’s quite a few neutral faces and sad faces this season.”

O’Sullivan will face Zhou Yuelong in the Last 16 after the Northern Ireland Open runner-up recovered from 5-3 down to deny his close friend Yan Bingtao in a deciding frame.

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