Ronnie O’Sullivan spoke about his Scottish Open withdrawal as he began his punditry duties at the tournament for Eurosport on Friday.
There have been divided opinions on the world number one’s repeated decisions to pull out of events this term.
O’Sullivan has cited health concerns on six occasions since the summer, during which he has missed his defence of the Champion of Champions in addition to five ranking events.
The most recent occurrence was for this week’s Scottish Open, coming just over a week after his brilliant eighth UK Championship glory in York.
An official announcement from the World Snooker Tour on the latest O’Sullivan no-show didn’t come until Monday morning, on what was day one of the competition at the Meadowbank Sports Centre.
However, the Rocket confirmed different reports that he had actually pulled out the day before.
“I’m feeling alright – not too bad,” Ronnie O’Sullivan told Rachel Casey on Eurosport during the quarter-final day at the Scottish Open.
“I have recovered from the UK Championships. It was a hard tournament, and it took a lot out of me.”
“I wasn’t quite ready to come and play here at the Scottish Open, which was really disappointing, because I love this tournament, I love this city, and I love this venue.
“Contrary to what everyone said, I did pull out on Sunday night. I didn’t leave it until the last minute, like everyone seemed to think.
“I wouldn’t do that. But I’m still happy to be here watching a great tournament with some fantastic players still left in the tournament.”
While the difference between Sunday and Monday may not seem like a lot, it did actually have a significant impact on whether a replacement top-up could have been drafted in or not.
“If Ronnie had pulled out Sunday night, why were we, as Q School top ups, not informed sooner?” amateur Steven Hallworth wrote on social media.
“(At) 10am Monday morning I was contacted by the World Snooker Tour to get to Edinburgh for 1pm to play – impossible.”
“Shame, as I’d have driven straight there if I could have made it.”
O’Sullivan’s absence, which would have had a damaging impact in terms of promotion and ticket sales, ultimately resulted in opponent Liam Graham receiving a bye.
Alfie Davies, son of former professional Anthony Davies, was another player asked on Monday morning but also couldn’t make the trip up to Scotland in time.
Graham, meanwhile, wasn’t happy about the situation either, although the rookie might wish he had stayed quiet after hearing O’Sullivan’s side of the story.
“It’s disrespectful what he’s done, it’s not right,” Graham was quoted by the Daily Record as saying on Monday.
“A lot of people took time off work to come and watch today and it’s disappointing.”
“At the end of the day I want to play the best players in the world and I was really looking forward to it.
“I had a lot of people coming to watch and it’s really disappointing for them. It’s not surprising given the things he does.
“I found out when I got to the venue this morning. I didn’t have much prior warning, I think he pulled out very late.
“I would have stayed at home and all the people who have travelled to watch me would have come another day as well.”
Four remain in the hunt for the Scottish Open title, with the semi-finals taking place on Saturday in the capital city.
Home favourite John Higgins faces Noppon Saengkham, while reigning champion Gary Wilson is in action against Zhou Yuelong.
Sunday’s final will provide the last opportunity in 2023 for silverware to be won, with an £80,000 top prize on offer for the champion.
Scottish Open draw
Round of 128 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Elliott Slessor
Xing Zihao 4-3 Fergal O’Brien
Joe O’Connor 4-0 Andy Lee
Scott Donaldson 4-3 Ashley Hugill
Hossein Vafaei 3-4 Daniel Wells
Rory Thor 4-1 Graeme Dott
Ryan Day 4-2 Jiang Jun
Ashley Carty 4-2 Andres Petrov
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-2 Ma Hailong
Chris Wakelin 4-2 Mark Joyce
Yuan Sijun 4-0 Muhammad Asif
Mark Williams 3-4 Sam Craigie
Robbie Williams 4-1 Rod Lawler
David Gilbert 4-3 Jak Jones
Jordan Brown 4-2 Adam Duffy
Kyren Wilson 4-2 Mostafa Dorgham
Mark Allen 2-4 Jamie Jones
Dominic Dale 4-1 Ross Muir
Jimmy Robertson 4-2 Amaan Iqbal
Jimmy White 4-3 Duane Jones
Robert Milkins 0-4 Mark Davis
Andrew Higginson 4-3 Allan Taylor
Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Anthony Hamilton
Martin Gould 4-2 Reanne Evans
Manasawain Phetmalaikuk 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Stuart Bingham 4-0 Michael White
Aaron Hill 4-1 Ken Doherty
Jack Lisowski 4-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Julien Leclercq 4-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Si Jiahui 4-3 Tian Pengfei
Zhang Anda 4-2 Andy Hicks
Judd Trump 4-0 Sydney Wilson
Liam Graham w/o Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ben Mertens 4-0 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Sanderson Lam 4-3 Fan Zhengyi
Cao Yupeng 4-2 David Lilley
Barry Hawkins 3-4 Pang Junxu
Xu Si 4-0 Mink Nutcharut
Anthony McGill 4-0 Ryan Thomerson
Oliver Lines 4-0 John Astley
Lukas Kleckers 4-1 Stuart Carrington
Noppon Saengkham 4-0 Rebecca Kenna
Jack Borwick 1-4 Ishpreet Singh Chadha
Ali Carter 4-3 Long Zehuang
Alfie Burden 4-1 Ian Burns
Matthew Selt 4-1 Dylan Emery
Matthew Stevens 4-0 Victory Sarkis
Mark Selby 4-2 Sean O’Sullivan
Shaun Murphy 1-4 Liu Hongyu
Zak Surety 4-1 Liam Pullen
Lyu Haotian 4-2 Joe Perry
Jackson Page 4-1 Himanshu Jain
John Higgins 4-0 Oliver Brown
He Guoqiang 4-0 Peng Yisong
Ricky Walden 4-3 Hammad Miah
Alexander Ursenbacher 4-0 Wu Yize
Liam Highfield 4-0 Dean Young
Tom Ford 4-1 Louis Heathcote
Jenson Kendrick 4-2 Anton Kazakov
Ding Junhui 4-0 David Grace
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Andrew Pagett
Jamie Clarke 4-2 Xiao Guodong
James Cahill 4-3 Stan Moody
Luca Brecel 4-0 Iulian Boiko
Round of 64 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Xing Zihao
Joe O’Connor 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Daniel Wells 3-4 Rory Thor
Ryan Day 3-4 Ashley Carty
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-4 Chris Wakelin
Yuan Sijun 0-4 Sam Craigie
Robbie Williams 3-4 David Gilbert
Jordan Brown 0-4 Kyren Wilson
Jamie Jones 3-4 Dominic Dale
Jimmy Robertson 3-4 Jimmy White
Mark Davis 1-4 Andrew Higginson
Zhou Yuelong w/o Martin Gould
Manasawin Phetmalaikul 0-4 Stuart Bingham
Aaron Hill 4-1 Jack Lisowski
Julien Leclercq 2-4 Si Jiahui
Zhang Anda 4-2 Judd Trump
Liam Graham 4-2 Ben Mertens
Sanderson Lam 4-1 Cao Yupeng
Pang Junxu 4-1 Xu Si
Anthony McGill 4-2 Oliver Lines
Lukas Kleckers 1-4 Noppon Saengkham
Ishpreet Singh Chadha 3-4 Ali Carter
Alfie Burden 1-4 Matthew Selt
Matthew Stevens 3-4 Mark Selby
Liu Hongyu 4-0 Zak Surety
Lyu Haotian 4-0 Jackson Page
John Higgins 4-1 He Guoqiang
Ricky Walden 4-3 Alexander Ursenbacher
Liam Highfield 2-4 Tom Ford
Jenson Kendrick 1-4 Ding Junhui
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Jamie Clarke
James Cahill 3-4 Luca Brecel
Round of 32 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Joe O’Connor
Rory Thor 4-3 Ashley Carty
Chris Wakelin 4-0 Sam Craigie
David Gilbert 3-4 Kyren Wilson
Dominic Dale 4-1 Jimmy White
Andrew Higginson 2-4 Zhou Yuelong
Stuart Bingham 4-2 Aaron Hill
Si Jiahui 2-4 Zhang Anda
Liam Graham 3-4 Sanderson Lam
Pang Junxu 2-4 Anthony McGill
Noppon Saengkham 4-2 Ali Carter
Matthew Selt 4-3 Mark Selby
Liu Hongyu 2-4 Lyu Haotian
John Higgins 4-3 Ricky Walden
Tom Ford 3-4 Ding Junhui
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Luca Brecel
Round of 16 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-1 Rory Thor
Chris Wakelin 4-2 Kyren Wilson
Dominic Dale 0-4 Zhou Yuelong
Stuart Bingham 4-0 Zhang Anda
Sanderson Lam 4-1 Anthony McGill
Noppon Saengkham 4-3 Matthew Selt
Lyu Haotian 2-4 John Higgins
Tom Ford 4-2 Martin O’Donnell
Gary Wilson 5-0 Chris Wakelin
Zhou Yuelong 5-4 Stuart Bingham
Sanderson Lam 3-5 Noppon Saengkham
John Higgins 5-3 Tom Ford
Gary Wilson 6-5 Zhou Yuelong
Noppon Saengkham 6-3 John Higgins
Gary Wilson 9-5 Noppon Saengkham
Featured photo credit: WST