10 August 2020

Funny smells, Aussie accents and robots – seven times the Rocket has taken off

10 August 2020

Ronnie O’Sullivan hit the headlines again on Sunday night after launching a savage attack on snooker’s next generation.

The five-time world champion insisted the standard is so bad he would have to “lose an arm and a leg” to slip down the rankings.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some other memorable outbursts from the ‘Rocket’.

2018/19: English Open, Crawley

O’Sullivan was annoyed by the facilities at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley during the English Open. He followed his second-round win by insisting that “every day in Crawley is a day lost in my life” and criticising the equipment, claiming: “They probably didn’t have the budget to get some decent rests.” Then, prior to the start of his third-round match against Hossein Vafaei, O’Sullivan took to Twitter to criticise the perceived cleanliness of the venue’s restaurant. That was just his latest criticism of the Crawley venue, which began in 2018 when he declared it not good enough to host the tournament. He called it a “hellhole” and added: “I don’t know what this gaff is but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.”

2019: Players’ Championship, Preston

O’Sullivan baffled interviewers when he began answering questions in an Australian accent after his win over Barry Hawkins. O’Sullivan said: “When you talk Aussie, the Aussies are just winners mate, you know? You’ve got to love a winner.”

2018: UK Championship, York

Ronnie O'Sullivan

O’Sullivan started the successful defence of his UK Championship title by saying he was ready to start a breakaway tour. Unhappy at the top players entering a flat draw, he said: “You don’t see Leyton Orient turning up to play (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona. They might play in the FA Cup, not week in, week out. It’s demotivating.”

2017: World Grand Prix, Preston

Ronnie O'Sullivan

O’Sullivan said he would no longer give in-depth media interviews – something he quickly relented on – and tackled a media commitment by answering in a robotic voice. Saying he was responding to a disciplinary letter from World Snooker after complaining about a referee and a photographer, O’Sullivan answered questions in a short manner, later explaining: “I will no longer be talking in depth in press conferences or interviews because when I share my thoughts, I risk being fined.”

2016: Welsh Open, Cardiff

Ronnie O'Sullivan

O’Sullivan turned down a 147 as he beat Barry Pinches, taking a pink for a 146 instead. Afterwards, he made headlines claiming he passed up the maximum because of the low prize money on offer. He told BBC Wales: “I could have got on the black and possibly made a 147. I knew it was 10 grand and I just thought that’s a bit too cheap, really. To make a maxi, it’s such a massive achievement and if they’re going to pay us 10 grand, I think it’s worth a bit more than that.”

2008: China Open, Beijing

Ronnie O'Sullivan

During the press conference immediately after his exit from the tournament, O’Sullivan was caught on camera making a series of inappropriate comments. The comments were made as the questions and his answers were being translated and included: “Suck my d***.” O’Sullivan later claimed he was unaware the cameras were rolling and the microphones were turned on. In response, he was made to forfeit his appearance money and ranking points from the event.

2020: World Championship, Sheffield

O’Sullivan went viral after beating Ding Junhui to book a World Championship quarter-final against fellow veteran Mark Williams. He told the BBC: “If you look at the younger players coming through, they’re not that good really. Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, or not even amateurs they’re so bad a lot of them. A lot of them you see now, you think, cor, I’ve probably got to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50. So that’s why we’re hovering around – because of how poor it is down that end.”

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