World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has announced he was withdrawing from the circuit in a decision his manager hinted could result in the player's retirement.
O'Sullivan, who turns 37 next month, won his fourth World Championship at the Crucible in May and admitted then that he would never equal Stephen Hendry's record of seven world titles. But it has still come as a surprise to snooker that he will not seek to defend his title, having pulled out of the game less than a month before the beginning of one of its biggest tournaments, the UK Championship in York.
O'Sullivan's manager, Django Fung, admitted the game may have seen the last of arguably its most exciting player of all time.
Asked if there was a sense of permanence to the decision, Fung said: "Yes. He's an emotional player, that's why he's a legend to watch play.
"You never know, though. In six months' time he might decide he's 100pc again and we might see the best of Ronnie again."
O'Sullivan has been suffering from glandular fever and feels he has other priorities than the game that made him famous.
"At the moment he wants to be away from snooker, see how he feels, see how he can manage his personal life, see if he can try to do other things," added manager Fung.