The Players Championship got under way on Monday but it was Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Australian accent that had the majority of people talking.
The defending champion held off a spirited fight back from Barry Hawkins to prevail in his opening round fixture courtesy of a 6-4 victory.
Top seed Mark Allen also advanced to the quarter-finals after a routine 6-2 triumph over Stephen Maguire
It was business as usual on the table for O’Sullivan as the “Rocket” compiled another century, taking him within just five of the milestone 1,000 landmark.
O’Sullivan also gave his routine “make the referee’s life difficult” impression when a five-minute stoppage in the third frame appeared to irk the record 19-time Triple Crown winner.
But it was his interpretation of the Aussie accent that generated the most talk, not the first time that his antics off the table dominated the headlines.
In fact, an Instagram video posted a few days before the start of the Players Championship hinted at what was to come.
Yet, few would have believed that the five-time world champion would undertake several of his post-match interviews in the foreign dialect.
Some queried whether there was a possible hidden meaning behind his peculiar antics, such as a potential trip to the Australian jungle for an upcoming edition of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here or a second series of his popular American Hustle – this time in Oz.
Others believed that it was another of O’Sullivan’s tricks in order to deflect the attention away from his game and divert the incoming pressure during a major tournament.
O’Sullivan has already won three tournaments this season, defending both the Shanghai Masters and UK Championship as well as capturing a third Champion of Champions crown.
Should the 43 year-old end up manoeuvring his way through the rounds, it will be interesting to see if he maintains his unusual take on the accent from Down Under.
For the sake of all of our ears, let’s hope not.
Some reaction to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Australian accent from social media:
maybe he’s hinting that he’s signed up to head into the jungle in Australia this year? #ImaCelebrityGetMeOutOfHere
— Dundonald Biz (@DundonaldBiz) March 4, 2019
Not even a tadge amusing, I wish he’d retire!!
— Keith Ord (@ord_ko) March 4, 2019
What’s his current fascination with the Australia accent at the minute? Reason behind it?
— Dale Perkins (@DTPerkins92) March 4, 2019
Watching a Ronnie O’Sullivan interview is a bit like watching someone defusing a bomb
— Archibald (@penguin7874) March 4, 2019
Hahaha..this man is epic..pure talent..a genius..a rebel..a miracle..a megastar.. a rockstar..😍😍😎😎
— AabraKaDabra (@KidOnJoint) March 5, 2019
Live coverage continues on ITV4 and Eurosport (Outside UK and Ire)