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World of Sport

19th Oct 2022

Worrying comments from Ronnie O’Sullivan after shock Northern Ireland Open exit

Patrick McCarry

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Concerning comments from ‘Rocket’.

Seven-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a shock defeat to David Grace at the Northern Ireland Open, this evening, then admitted, “I really don’t care any more.”

O’Sullivan had a two-frame lead over Grace, a former UK Championship semi-finalist, but fell away badly in the match and lost 4-3.

While this is not the first time O’Sullivan has expressed such a sentiment, it comes fast on the heels of him conceding that he sometimes prefer to lose matches as a quick way to get out of tournaments he is not enjoying. “The trick,” he told RTE Sport, “is to lose.”

He won his seventh world title at The Crucible, earlier this year, but told reporters in Sheffield that he often struggled to find motivation in tournaments and challenge events.

He says he was close to quitting the sport in 2011, and, in 2020, criticised the next generation of snooker stars by saying, “I would have to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan reacts after playing a shot during the Dafabet Masters final, against Barry Hawkins, in 2016. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

‘The job ain’t worth the stress’ – Ronnie O’Sullivan

“I’ve got a rule, I don’t really talk about any of my matches, I leave it out there, it is what it is,” Ronnie O’Sullivan reflected, to the BBC, after his loss to Grace.

“I let others analyse and criticise while I move on and have a bit of lunch. If I can play one good tournament a year that will do for me, cut the mediocre ones. That’s enough really.” The 46-year-old added:

“The job ain’t worth the stress and the hassle. Sometimes a loss is a blessing in disguise, it just allows me to do other stuff.

“I quit mentally about eight years ago and I just take what I can from the sport. It’s a good platform for me, allows me to do other stuff and gives me a lot of freedom.

“As far as winning goes or cementing my name in the game there isn’t enough good stuff in the game to get excited about. One day I’ll wake up and get excited and play a good tournament, but if I don’t I don’t really care any more.”

The 2022 UK Championship is coming fast on the horizon, and former World Snooker finalist Jimmy White told Eurosport that O’Sullivan will ‘get himself up’ for that event.