Wednesday 23 August 2017

O'Sullivan's Rocket for snooker chiefs

O'Sullivan: “I like Barry, but I’m not being intimidated or bullied any more.” Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
O'Sullivan: “I like Barry, but I’m not being intimidated or bullied any more.” Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Ronnie O'Sullivan accused the snooker authorities of bullying and intimidating him in a breathtaking outburst at the Betfred World Championship, as he made a winning start to his 25th Crucible campaign when he saw off Gary Wilson 10-7.

The 41-year-old five-time Crucible champion pointed the finger at World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn and his board.

And the Rocket revealed the extent of his distress at receiving a letter from disciplinary chiefs after he criticised a referee and photographer during January's Masters.

Hearn last week criticised O'Sullivan, telling Press Association Sport his recent behaviour in media interviews was "embarrassing", following a series of bizarre exchanges.

O'Sullivan has deliberately and repeatedly given one-word answers to questions he has faced after matches, while in an ITV interview at the World Grand Prix in February he gave a series of responses in a robotic voice.

This time O'Sullivan struck back, and said: "I phoned Barry up four weeks ago and I said, 'Barry, I'm done with all you and your board of people'.

And I've got a very good friend of mind who said, 'Just let my lawyers deal with it'. I won't get involved with it because I'm not being bullied, I'm not having people doing that to me ever again.

"I'm just fortunate I've got a very good friend who's got very good lawyers and they've got my back. I just want to play and have fun.

"I like Barry, but I'm not being intimidated or bullied any more."

Meanwhile, Dublin's Fergal O'Brien bowed out of the championship after losing 10-2 to reigning champion Mark Selby on Saturday.

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