Ronnie O’Sullivan is a serial snooker champion but admits winning became his ‘worst enemy’ back in 2017.

The Rocket has soared to five World Championship titles but was on his hottest streak of all three years ago, when he romped to Masters, UK Championship and World Grand Prix glory.

Those triumphs were supplemented by English Open and Players Championship wins as O’Sullivan took further steps into the terrain of snooker greatness.

But the demands of the hectic circuit eventually caught up with him and the world No.6 admits despite his dominance, he struggled to get a thrill out of snooker’s globetrotting tour.

“One year I won virtually every tournament I played in, and felt horrible and didn’t feel happy,” O’Sullivan, 44, said.

“I didn’t get home, I was living out of a suitcase and I’d won like five, massive titles.

“And I thought: ‘there’s a problem there, if you can’t enjoy the wins, something needs to change’.

“In the end, I was looking at my suit and just thinking ‘I don’t want to put it on again’ because every day I was playing match after match.

“In a way, winning became my worst enemy… Although I was winning those tournaments, I wasn’t playing well, I wasn’t in peak performance and I was just a winning machine!

"I’d win one tournament and I didn’t feel like it was able to sink in because I’d win one on a Sunday and be playing the following day at some other venue.

“I never got any joy out of my performances and I thought if I’m not getting joy out of my performances, then why am I going down that road?”

That feeling has led to O’Sullivan being more selective these days, picking and choosing which tournaments to play in and focusing on the high-profile events such as the upcoming Betfred World Championship at the Crucible.

The five-time winner goes into this year’s event ranked No.6 in the world having not progressed past the quarter-finals in Sheffield since 2014, and is on track for a last 16 clash against world No.11 Ding Junhui if he wins his first round.

The 36-time ranking event winner has been more relaxed in recent years and traces that transition back to the decision he made in 2017.

“I had to remodel and do what I felt was right for me, and too much snooker and too much competition is not healthy for me,” he added.

“So I vowed never to put myself through that again or go down that road, so, for me, it was more about you have to enjoy what you do.

“And by going down that road, I found that I wasn’t happy because I was away all the time.

“So by having space between tournaments has worked better for me, you know, and that has ton come first, you know.”

Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July – 16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.