Ronnie O'Sullivan
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Ronnie O’Sullivan compares tournaments to ‘paid practice’

Ronnie O’Sullivan compared his appearances on the World Snooker Tour to “paid practice” after reaching the Players Championship quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The world number one wasn’t quite at his best but still compiled breaks of 136, 73, and 62 to overcome Zhou Yuelong 6-2 in Telford.

O’Sullivan has won four tournaments during a prolific 2023/24 snooker season, including both the UK Championship and the prestigious Masters.

The Rocket has also opted to skip the majority of smaller events on the calendar, a tactic Judd Trump similarly employed at last week’s Welsh Open in Llandudno.

But O’Sullivan, who has cited various health reasons for his withdrawals this term, doesn’t think that limiting his playing time has anything to do with his continued success.

“I’ve been doing that all my career, so that’s not really the reason why. There’s other reasons why,” Ronnie O’Sullivan told ITV Sport.

“I’ve just come here to try and get a bit of match practice. I’ll try and take what I can out of it.”

“I’ll make sure I’m sharp for when I’m doing my other bits and pieces – like, this is all icing on the cake for me, whatever I get off this tour.

“I’ve got my exhibitions, I’ve got my ambassador work. That’s my main thing, and I just fit in a few tournaments around that.

“I’m contracted to play in certain tournaments, so I will play in them. Obviously, my ambassadors want me to play in them, so that’s fine. I’ll definitely go for them, and the rest is all up for grabs.

“I love the fans, that’s the most important thing to me.

“As long as the fans still want to see me play and come and watch me, and they still feel like I can give value for money, that’s the most important thing.

“But for me, it’s just a day out really. I just enjoy getting away from home, booking in my AirBnB, doing my gym, doing my running.

“Then fit a few frames of snooker in, it’s just a bit of paid practice really.”

Elsewhere on day two at the Players Championship, Mark Allen produced a fine performance to beat Mark Williams 6-3 and reach the last eight.

The Northern Irishman began the contest in lightning fashion, compiling a total clearance of 146 and two more century breaks to lead 3-0.

Williams fought his way back into the contest to trail by only one, before Allen took the final two frames with contributions of 70 and 68.

The Pistol will face Gary Wilson next after last week’s Welsh Open champion emerged from a tight affair with Hossein Vafaei.

Ali Carter, meanwhile, also progressed from the first round with a 6-2 defeat of Tom Ford.

On Wednesday afternoon, the remaining couple of matches from the last 16 take place with Mark Selby in action against Barry Hawkins and Zhang Anda entertaining Noppon Saengkham.

The quarter-finals will commence in the evening, with Carter back on the table against pre-tournament favourite Trump.


2024 Players Championship draw

Round of 16 (bo11)

Judd Trump 6-2 Chris Wakelin
Tom Ford 2-6 Ali Carter

Mark Williams 3-6 Mark Allen
Gary Wilson 6-4 Hossein Vafaei

Zhang Anda 6-5 Noppon Saengkham
Ding Junhui 4-6 John Higgins

Barry Hawkins 3-6 Mark Selby
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Zhou Yuelong

Quarter-Finals (bo11)

Judd Trump 4-6 Ali Carter
Mark Allen 6-4 Gary Wilson

Zhang Anda 6-4 John Higgins
Mark Selby 6-0 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Ali Carter 3-6 Mark Allen
Zhang Anda 6-5 Mark Selby

Final (bo19)

Mark Allen 10-8 Zhang Anda


Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. O’Sullivan only started to skip tournaments more often around about 2009. I personally think selecting his events carefully works better for him. His tournament winning strike rate has improved since 2012 and part of the cause for this is being more picky about the events he’s chosen to play in.

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