Ronnie O’Sullivan has slammed some of snooker’s lower ranked players in an incredible TV interview.
The five-times world champion described some of the players on the current World Snooker Tour as “poor” just minutes after he booked his place in the World Championship quarter-finals with a 13-10 win over Ding Junhui.
He also openly revealed to BBC’s Rob Walker how he felt Crawley – a place he has previously publicly criticised – was a more preferable venue to play in rather than a packed out, snooker mad Crucible where he is the centre of attention.
Next up for O’Sullivan will be Mark Williams – another snooker legend who started his professional career at the same time as he did in 1992.
O’Sullivan was asked by Rob Walker if he believed when he started playing professionally that he’d still be at the heights of the game almost 30 years later.
His response sent Twitter into meltdown.
“Probably not if you asked me then but when you look at the standard of play, I would say yes,” he said.
“People like me, John Higgins and Mark Williams, if you look at the younger players coming through, they are not that good really. Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, not even amateurs. They are so bad.
“A lot of them you see now, you look at them and think, ‘I would have to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50’. That is why we are still hovering around, because of how poor it is down that end.”
O’Sullivan said he was enjoying the tournament given the Covid-secure arrangements in place because he can solely focus on the snooker instead of everything else that usually comes with it such as the media spotlight and the expectation with fans.
He said: “It’s so much easier getting in and out the venue – you walk in nice and relaxed and walk out – it’s so different and for me that’s why I don’t like this tournament because it’s such a headache.
“You are just trying to get in and out of the venue that I’m like running away from it. However long I’m here, I’m virtually spending most of my time running away from people and trying to escape it all when all you want to do is come and play snooker.
“You want to be protected because you just want to focus on the snooker but it is not like that here, it’s really tough. But this year with the Covid situation it’s allowed people just to get on with their jobs and not have to play hide and seek.
“It’s better with the fans, it’s like playing in a morgue out there – I’ve got one friend sitting out in the balcony.
“But for the top players it (a packed out Crucible) can be a nightmare and it puts you off wanting to come here. I’d rather play in Crawley – that’s how bad it is.”
O’Sullivan blasted the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley calling it a “hellhole” and said the placed smelled of “urine” when it hosted the English Open in the Autumn of 2018.
He said in a post match interview: “I don’t know what this gaff is but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.
“It’s just got no atmosphere in there. I’m practising and I’ve got wires all around the table. There’s no security, you’ve got people running at you left, right and centre.