Ronnie O'Sullivan has revealed that a period away from snooker has left him feeling "refreshed" as he prepares to defend his world championship crown.
The 37-year-old announced on Tuesday that he would return for the tournament in April, having been away from the sport since November.
"I'm going into the unknown. But hey, embrace it. I might get smashed in Sheffield. I certainly feel refreshed I was never out of juice. I don't find snooker hard mentally or physically. It is your job and you get used to it," he told reporters at a press conference.
"I needed to take time out for other things. I knew I couldn't take too much time out. It was always in the back of my mind that I had to come back and come back with a clear head after sorting a few things out.
"I have probably played three or four exhibition matches and I have probably played ten days in nine months. I still pot a few balls but I am very match rusty. I haven't played many match situations and I haven't played in any tense situations.
"I just see this as the start of the bigger picture. A few months ago I was thinking I would take it and lose 10-0 at Sheffield rather than this. I was just getting up and going for lunches and that was it. I was bored."
O'Sullivan has dropped to 24th in the world rankings.