Ronnie O’Sullivan has clarified the reasons why he will not be entering The Masters next month.
The seven times Masters champion will not compete in the traditional new year tournament – one of the most prestigious in the World Snooker calendar – when it takes place in January at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Those ranked in the top 16 of the world rankings at the end of the UK Championship are invited to play in the event which has been going for 46 years.
World Snooker announced on Saturday that O’Sullivan – who has won the Masters more times than any other player – had pulled out for “personal reasons”.
But speaking to Eurosport during its coverage of the UK Championship semi-finals, the five times world champion clarified that he had not pulled out for personal reasons, but simply did not enter the eight-day event.
“I did not enter, so I didn’t pull out,” O’Sullivan said.
“There’s certainly no personal reasons, that’s news to me. I just chose not to enter.
“There’s no particular reason (for not entering) I just didn’t want to play in it this year.
“I’m looking forward to doing some other stuff. I think the Masters is such a great tournament and that spot should go to somebody that’s really dedicated to the game, loves the game and will give it 110 per cent.
“The place is better going to someone else.”
Ali Carter will take O’Sullivan’s place as he is ranked 17th place in the word rankings.
The draw for The Masters will be held during Sunday’s UK Championship final between Ding Junhui and Stephen Maguire.