Ronnie O'Sullivan will be out to win a sixth World Championship
'The Rocket' opens against Gary Wilson in Sheffield
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 14/04/17 10:13am
We take a look back at the career of Ronnie O'Sullivan as 'The Rocket' aims to join Steve Davis and Ray Reardon as a six-time World Champion at the Crucible.
He's the most naturally gifted player of a generation and the fans' favourite, so can the genius that is O'Sullivan add to his title haul at the iconic Crucible Theatre?
The 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013 champion faces Gary Wilson, one of five tournament debutants this year, in an all-English first-round clash.
Selby set for Crucible defence
Mark Selby to begin World Championship defence against Ireland's Fergal O'Brien at Crucible
As he prepares for his 25th consecutive World Championship appearance, we take a look back at the highs and lows of the king of the green baize.
After winning the UK Championship aged 17, Ronnie went to Gartree Prison in Leicestershire to show the trophy to his father Ronnie Snr, who was serving 18 years for murder.
A year after winning the British Open, the 19-year-old claimed the Masters title against fellow teenager John Higgins 9-3 in the final.
In 1995 O'Sullivan reached the last eight of the World Championship in Sheffield before losing to Stephen Hendry 13-8.
'The Rocket' was back to defend his Masters crown in 1996, but he lost to the indefatigable Hendry 10-5 at Wembley.
O'Sullivan reached the semi-final of the World Championship in 1996 before going out to Peter Ebdon 16-14.
However, he is found guilty of assaulting an official and is handed a two-year suspended sentence as well as a £20,000 fine.
In 1997, O'Sullivan compiled the fastest 147 on record in just five minutes 20 seconds during his World Championship win over Mick Price.
The following year O'Sullivan beat his idol Jimmy White 13-7 at the Crucible before losing to John Higgins in the semi-finals.
The Essex cueman landed his first World Championship title - beating John Higgins 18-14 in 2001.
In December he destroyed Ken Doherty 10-1 to secure the UK Championship in York.
O'Sullivan edged out John Higgins in a thrilling Irish Masters final 10-9 at the Citywest Hotel in 2003.
And the following May he defeated Graeme Dott 18-8 to win his second World Championship at the Crucible.
Teenager Ding Junhui was left in tears as O'Sullivan won his first big tournament for 22 months at the 2007 Masters at Wembley Arena with a 10-3 battering.
In 2008 he celebrated a record-breaking ninth 147 maximum break against Mark Williams...
... before going on to capture his third Crucible crown by defeating Ali Carter 18-8 in the final.
After personal problems, Ronnie was back on the baize in 2012 where he beat Carter once again - this time securing an 18-11 win in Sheffield.
And after a year sabbatical from the sport, he returned to sensationally retain his title in 2013 with an 18-12 win over Barry Hawkins and celebrated with his son, Ronnie Jr.
Ronnie made a strong start to 2014, securing his fifth Masters title with a 10-4 victory over Mark Selby.
But O'Sullivan missed out on a sixth World crown in May, throwing away a five frame lead in a 18-14 defeat against Mark Selby.
Despite breaking his ankle whilst running, 'The Rocket' still took part at the 2014 UK Championship...
...where he beat Judd Trump 10-9 in a thrilling final to claim his fifth UK Championship title to earn £150,000, to go with the £44,000 he pocketed for his 147 break against Matt Selt.
He sealed a record-equalling sixth Masters title at the Alexandra Palace in January 2016. After defeating Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham, he won the tournament crown with a 10-1 demolition of Barry Hawkins which equalled Stephen Hendry's record for the most Masters wins.
The Paul Hunter trophy was back in his arms as O'Sullivan won the Masters for a record seventh time at Alexandra Palace in 2017, beating Joe Perry 10-7 in the final.
Now Ronnie is back in Sheffield and ready to begin his quest for a sixth Crucible crown. Can he do it at the age of 41? This would surely be his greatest achievement in the sport.
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