Ronnie O'Sullivan
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Ronnie O’Sullivan withdrawal puts world no.1 ranking in jeopardy

Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the European Masters in Nuremberg, opening the door for a challenge on his world number one status.

The seven-time world champion was due to play Andy Hicks on day one of what is the second ranking event of the 2023/24 snooker season.

But O’Sullivan has decided to skip the tournament, with a short statement on the World Snooker Tour website citing medical reasons.

“Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the BetVictor European Masters in Germany for medical reasons,” the statement read.

“O’Sullivan was due to play Andy Hicks in the first round of the world ranking event in Nuremberg on Tuesday at 8pm.”

“Hicks will now receive a bye to the last 64.”

On Monday, WST announced that Shaun Murphy’s opponent Graeme Dott in the held-over preliminary round had also withdrawn.

In that case, there was time for a replacement to be drafted in with Steven Hallworth next in the order from the Q School rankings getting the call to face Murphy instead.

But it was too late in the day for that option to be implemented here, which is certainly handy for Hicks.

It’s not the first time that O’Sullivan has withdrawn from a competition at the last minute.

Indeed, he has made a habit of it and pulled a similar move at the campaign-opening Championship League Snooker earlier this summer.

Disappointed fans will next hope to see the 47 year-old perform at the Shanghai Masters – a lucrative invitational – in September.

What his absence does mean is there is now a big opportunity for either Luca Brecel or Mark Allen to become world number one for the first time.

World champion Brecel is just £12,500 adrift of O’Sullivan in the provisional two-year rolling standings.

A run to the semi-finals for the Belgian Bullet in the European Masters this week could be enough to see him usurp the Englishman into first place.

That is, of course, if Allen doesn’t land the title itself as a triumph for the Northern Irishman on Sunday would see him become world number one instead.

Brecel and Allen are tantalisingly on different sides of the draw, meaning an enthralling winner-takes-all title decider could be on the cards.

For more information on the European Masters draw, click here.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Jay Brannon

    This is beginning to remind me of a period between about 2010 and 2012 when it happened quite frequently. A disappointment as when he appeared on Desert Island Discs he was talking about really committing to making this season a very special one.

  2. According to my calculations, Ronnie has already lost his n°1 spot because he was finalist 2 years ago and should, therefore, lose 35.000 here. If so, it would mean that except if Allen was to win the title, Brecel would be n°1, whatever he does.
    But this article, and commentators on Eurosport think differently. Where am I wrong?

    • The £35,000 you’re referring to was for the European Masters played in February, 2022. The rankings are based on a two-year rolling system, so those points won’t come off O’Sullivan’s total until February, 2024.

  3. It’s becoming all so predictable, no doubt he will have a moan about snooker in the next month or so, zzzzzzzzzzzz

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