Six times world champion Steve Davis has given his take on Ronnie O’Sullivan’s idea of forming a “breakaway” tour – and appeared to look very confused by it all during a TV interview with the man himself.
Earlier today, The Old Green Baize reported how O’Sullivan was planning his own snooker tour which he said would be played across the world – but would need players to give up their World Snooker tour card for it to take off.
O’Sullivan’s plans for a so called “breakaway” tour come following his strong criticism in recent weeks of the way the World Snooker tour is structured. He has also publicly criticised venues for smelling like “urine” and over the past year as referred some of the players on tour as “numpties”.
Davis was asked for his views on the topic while speaking as a BBC pundit during O’Sullivan’s UK Championship third round whitewash victory over Zhou Yuelong.
Davis said: “Ronnie is speaking for Ronnie. I don’t think he’s speaking for the other 127 players on the tour, who I imagine, more often than not, would be disagreeing with what he says.
“You may have to look behind why is Ronnie saying this.
“One of the reasons possibly is to stay on the tour you need to play in open ranking events to get prize money and ranking points.
“Perhaps as he is getting older he doesn’t fancy the job so much of doing the hard graft and hard miles like most of the players are doing and it is tough on the circuit. Perhaps he is looking for an easier way – a showcase tour – and in his mind that’s an easy way of earning a few quid.
“Perhaps that’s what is going on.”
After the match O’Sullivan came into the BBC studio and discussed more about his plans but initially denied it was a “breakaway” tour and called it another “platform” for him to play in.
But it is fair to say Davis appeared to look confused during the chat with O’Sullivan.
Former amateur snooker competition organiser and snooker blogger SnookerBacker tweeted screeenshot images of Davis’ facial reactions while O’Sullivan was discussing the idea of having a new snooker tour – which appear to shed light on what he thinks of it all.
As well as the facial expressions, Davis did speak in a rather confused manner when he asked O’Sullivan questions about the tour.
O’Sullivan said: “I’m sure if Steve was still playing (the current tour) I don’t think he will be wanting to go to Barnsley and Preston. It is like you are asking Roger Federer before Wimbledon to go to Richmond Park to try and qualify in front of a few people.”
Davis then asked O’Sullivan how would a “breakaway” tour solve his concerns about the current tour.
O’Sullivan responded: “I don’t want a breakaway tour. I just love to play.
“(But) If the tour is as it is I know eventually I am going to struggle to make the quality tournaments because I’m not prepared to go from tournament to tournament to chase a few ranking points and to get to invitational events.
“So if that happens it doesn’t leave me much to play in so I would rather play eight or nine quality events. I just want a platform to play.
“You want to be a happy snooker player.”
Davis then said: “If there was a breakaway you would not be able to play in the World Championship.
“These would be just exhibitions.”
O’Sullivan replied: “I don’t care. I like to prepare for events. The most beautiful thing about sport is preparation – working with your coach or getting ready for the event.”
O’Sullivan then said he would not want to “fool the public” and would make sure any new tour proposed would have competitive matches all the way through.
The five-times would champion added he would approve of an alternative ranking system where a player’s “average performance” over a number of events was rated rather than that of every ranking tournament.
Currently snooker’s ranking system is based on the prize money each player wins at every ranking event played within a two-year time frame.
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