Ronnie O’Sullivan has strongly played down his shoulder barge incident with Ali Carter saying it was “nothing but just heat of the moment stuff”.
Both players collided with each other during the 19th frame of their epic second round clash which saw Carter win 13-9.
After the two clashed shoulders, words were then exchanged which prompted referee Paul Collier to intervene and order the players to carry on with the match.
Snooker commentators including Dennis Taylor and Neal Foulds said they hadn’t seen a confrontation like it in years, especially at the Crucible – the home of snooker’s biggest tournament.
Speaking after the match, O’Sullivan – still looking for his sixth World Championship crown after being knocked out – told the media it was something of nothing and in the context of reality there were bigger things to worry about..
“I don’t want to dwell on it, it’s not that important,” he said.
“You (the media) should be focusing on Ali, he played a great match and he’s in the tournament. Just think of all these terrible things in the world and we’re sitting here talking about a shoulder barge
“There’s not a lot of space out there, it’s the Crucible and if it was about three inches smaller I doubt you could hold the event here.
“There were a couple of collisions out there and sometimes you just touch each other. Formula One has it all the time, they have contact in cars and we have contact with humans. It was nothing, just heat of the moment stuff and it’s forgotten about.
“There’s no hard feelings between me and Ali. We’ve known each other since we were ten and practised together.
“I’m not sure many players speak to each other during matches. Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis didn’t chat. I’m not one for chatting anyway. It’s quite superficial stuff really if you’re trying to create a relationship and a chat with an opponent. They are my rivals and competitors, I don’t want to get too friendly with anyone.”
O’Sullivan ends the season winning major five ranking titles in the campaign – a joint record held by Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby.