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World of Sport

26th Apr 2023

“That’s how snooker should be played” – Ronnie O’Sullivan gives gracious interview after being stunned in Sheffield

Niall McIntyre

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been knocked out of the World Snooker Championships after losing 13-10 to Luca Brecel.

The Rocket had led by 10-6 at the beginning of Wednesday’s afternoon session but in a burst that shocked the world of snooker, the Belgian won seven frames on the bounce to knock the seven time champ out of the competition.

Brecel now advances to the last four of the tournament, where he’ll face either Anthony McGill or Si Jiahui. World number two Mark Allen will take on Mark Selby or John Higgins in the other semi-final.

But Wednesday was all about Brecel, the flamboyant Belgian who, in an interview with the BBC, said he has been ‘drunk as hell’ during this tournament.

“Before the tournament I was out partying,” he said.

“Staying up late to 6 or 7am, playing Fifa with my friends, not practising,” Brecel told BBC Sport.

“Even after I beat Mark Williams [in the second round] I got home at 7am by car, and then we went out again until 5 or 6 in the morning, drunk as hell.

“The next day, I had to drive back up again, so it’s a totally different preparation, and it’s working,” he added.

Afterwards, O’Sullivan was extremely sporting and gracious in his post-match interview at the crucible in Sheffield.

“He’s such a good player,” Ronnie told the BBC.

“I love watching him play, his cue action, he gets through the ball so well, the whip he gets on the white, the top spin, the thud he hits the ball with. He’s just such a dynamic player, full of talent, probably the most talented snooker player I’ve ever seen.

“I’d love to see him go and win it, just for snooker, because that’s how snooker should be played.

“Phenomenal player, lovely boy, wish him all the best and hopefully he goes and wins the tournament.

Is that the best anyone has ever played against Ronnie in the Crucible?

“John Higgins has played phenomenal sessions against me, so has Stephen Hendry,” said the reigning champ.

“If I could have put up a bit more of a resistance, maybe he wouldn’t have played so well, if I could have at least put some balls together. But, you know, I didn’t put up any resistance. But he still has to pot the balls, and it shows that he’s playing with confidence.”

O’Sullivan looked a shadow of the player that had stormed into a 10-6 lead, and a shadow of the player that won the title last year – he failed to make a single break over 30 in the entire session.

“I’m not sure he’ll be allowed that much movement if another top player plays well, they’ll stop the momentum.

“If it was a boxing match, they’d have stopped it very early on, I was just pinching frames, I was just hanging on and there’s only so much hanging on you can do at the Crucible, it catches up with you at some point.

“Eventually, someone will play well against you, and that’s what he’s done.

“I can go back out running tomorrow, thank God. I had about 10 days off, that’s why my waistcoat was a little bit bigger yesterday!

“The pounds have been piled on, I’ve got to try get this little bit of lump off now! Do some punditry work, have some fun and yeah, just enjoy the rest of the tournament.”

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