Ronnie O'Sullivan reveals how working with children in poverty has helped him to look beyond sport

O'Sullivan is coming to terms with the realisation that there's a life outside his sport

Ronnie O'Sullivan reveals how working with children in poverty has helped him to look beyond sport

Mike Egerton PA Wire/PA Images

Ronnie O'Sullivan is seeking to defend his Masters title this weekend, and a seventh crown in all, but at 41, he has made peace with the mortality of a sporting career.

O'Sullivan comfortably won the title last year, dispatching the challenge of Barry Hawkins 10-1. He subsequently suffered a back injury which caused a strain on his mental resolve. The nature of the injury made it difficult for the world number 13 to position himself properly when lining up a shot and he feared for his ability to make a comeback.

But working on behalf of Tibetan orphans for the Soong Ching Ling Foundation has empowered O'Sullivan to embrace the prospect of a life outside of snooker. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, O'Sullivan remarks on how those children inspired him to reassess his attitude to sport.

"Going to that orphanage was one of the best days of my life. These kids had nothing before, no hope. They call their teacher the boss, he is like a father to them. It just took your breath away, and I came away feeling alive. I am open to these things now. This is what is important to me, not sitting in here driving myself mad, getting depressed because I can't pot a f****** ball."

Elsewhere in the interview, O'Sullivan also talks about learning to adapt to the possibility of losing a game as well as his experience of going on a campaign trail with Ed Miliband of the Labour Party which O'Sullivan supports.