World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has claimed that it occurred to him to saw his own leg off in order to help his snooker game.
The Rocket, now 37 years old, made the claim in the Daily Mail, saying that little glitches in his game drove him to distraction.
O'Sullivan, who has struggled with depression throughout his career, has repeatedly threatened to leave the sport as he struggles to play to his own high standards.
He told the paper:
Dark thoughts can overwhelm you. I thought about having my left leg sawn off once. I really did. I was worried about my stance because I couldn’t keep that leg still. I said to my dad, “How about if I get a wooden leg that won’t move? I wouldn’t miss”. I said, “I will get a new hip. I’ve worn my hip out. If I got a new hip it might not bend as much”.
‘He said, “You’re f****** mad”.’
‘I said, “No, I’m not. I need something that is stable. That’s what is stopping me from being consistent”.
In other explosive claims, O'Sullivan added that he had once been offered £20,000 to fix a match.
He turned it down, but in quotes picked up by the BBC, he said the impact that being caught would have on his friends and family was what convinced him not to take the offer:
"Snooker's given me a great life," O'Sullivan said. "It's not just about the money."
Fellow professional Stephen Lee is currently challenging a 12-year ban for match-fixing.