Ronnie O’Sullivan claims he’s ‘able to go’ and begin his personal ‘Champions League-style’ snooker tour.
The five-time world champion, snooker’s hottest and marketable participant, beat Ken Doherty 6-5 within the second spherical of the UK Championship in York on Sunday, however as is usually the case, it was what he mentioned afterwards which took centre stage.
For a while now the 42-year-old has railed in opposition to the World Snookertour, particularly its 128-player flat draw which frequently sees main names taking part in first-round matches in opposition to low-ranked gamers in what he considers to be distant venues.
O’Sullivan stays part of that tour, choosing and selecting occasions and by virtually everybody’s evaluation remaining the best participant on the planet.
Nonetheless, he says if sufficient gamers are prepared to go along with him, he desires to type a breakaway, extra elite competitors, akin to the Champions League in soccer.
His claims got here after it was put to him that his nice rival and buddy, John Higgins, had mentioned he’s contemplating retirement.
“If he desires to play and finds the tour a little bit of a grind, if you’re a prime participant, profitable matches, travelling from right here to right here… I’m simply ready for 4 or 5 sad gamers, as a result of I can’t go and play alone. I’m able to go,” O’Sullivan, who’s the defending champion in York, advised a press convention.
“If somebody supplied me the chance to play on one other platform, I might be gone tomorrow. However sadly, with snooker, you do want an opponent.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to perhaps get John, the Chinese language children which were banned, I do know a few different Chinese language top-ranked gamers that aren’t completely satisfied to maintain travelling over to play qualifiers at Barnsley.”
O’Sullivan is undoubtedly one of many best entertainers snooker has ever had. In York he might move 1,000 profession centuries and lots of consider his title props the game up.
“There’s seven gamers… that’s what I’m hoping for, sufficient gamers which can be a bit fed up and perhaps need to play in a Champions League-style, the place you continue to play for trophies, prize cash, a one-table setup,” he added.
“I’ve obtained 15 years left on this sport, I nonetheless assume I can play to mid-fifties, simply, so there’s no rush.”
O’Sullivan insists he doesn’t need to rival the present tour, which hosts tournaments all world wide, and reckons seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry might come out of retirement to hitch him.
“I’m not in search of another tour, I’m in search of seven or eight actual top-quality gamers, Champions League model, ATP on the O2, better of one of the best, each match is a last,” he mentioned.
“Completely. It’s a threat. I’m in search of folks.. you may’t anticipate folks to return for nothing. Hendry’s up for it, carry him out of retirement, me, Higgins, three or 4 different good high quality gamers.”
O’Sullivan says he has backers and admits gamers might favor World Snooker’s tour due to the choice to play on the Crucible and the Masters, however believes main names having to play unheralded ones causes issues.
“You don’t see Leyton Orient turning as much as play (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona. They could play within the FA Cup, not week in, week out. It’s demotivating,” he mentioned.
“I believe Messi would get fed up having to return out and play Huddersfield City and Leyton Orient. He desires to play in opposition to (Cristiano) Ronaldo, hear that Champions League music. I believe there’s room for 2 excursions.”
O’Sullivan believes Higgins might have grown weary of the rigours of travelling world wide, and mentioned in tennis Roger Federer wouldn’t be requested to “come out at Richmond Park and qualify for Wimbledon”.
O’Sullivan performs Zhou Yuelong within the third spherical on Monday and World Snooker has been contacted to reply to his feedback.
Its chairman, Barry Hearn, did tweet O’Sullivan, in response to the participant’s declare that Chinese language pair Yu Delu and Cao Yupeng, banned for match-fixing on Saturday, had been harshly handled.
“Please maintain such silly feedback to your self. Your getting ridiculous and I anticipate higher from a participant of your standing. Sufficient,” Heard mentioned.