Ronnie O’Sullivan is happy to be under pressure going into Betfred World Championship match with Blackpool’s James Cahill

Ronnie O'Sullivan meets James Cahill this afternoon
Ronnie O'Sullivan meets James Cahill this afternoon
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Ronnie O’Sullivan will embrace the pressure that comes with his latest World Championship campaign, which starts against Blackpool’s James Cahill this afternoon, and says Tiger Woods’ recent Masters triumph is proof that sport’s true greats should never be written off.

Woods ended a Major drought of over a decade with victory in Augusta this week while O’Sullivan returns to the Crucible as a strong favourite to clinch his first world crown since 2013.

At the age of 43 and having regained the world number one ranking earlier this season, O’Sullivan is bullish about his chances as he prepared to face Cahill, the first amateur to reach the Crucible.

O’Sullivan said: “I think if you don’t feel pressure you’re probably not going to perform well. The reason why Tiger Woods and Usain Bolt produce such fantastic performances is that they raise their level because of the pressure.

“It is great to watch true greatness. There’s a lot of people who get spoken of in great terms but they are not actually great – they are just very, very good.

“There’s probably five or six sports people on the planet who you should never write off.

“Sport’s not just about the ability to do it, it’s about the courage and the mentality and the confidence to stamp the authority on the game and make other people not play to their full potential.”