O’Sullivan won’t play qualifiers again unless promoters ‘pay for that privilege’

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Ronnie O’Sullivan will not be playing in qualifiers anymore (Picture: Zhai Zheng)

Ronnie O’Sullivan does not intend to play in qualifiers for tournaments anymore, unless promoters are willing to ‘pay for the privilege’ of him doing so.

The Rocket caused a stir in the German Masters qualifiers last month when he was beaten 5-0 by Hossein Vafaei, smashing the pack of reds from his break-off in the last frame.

Clearly not engaged in the match, at least by that point, the six-time world champion says he has had enough of going to play separate, behind-closed-doors matches away from the main venue.

The 45-year-old sees the ‘hassle’ of going to separate qualifiers that are not part of the main tournament as just too much for him to go through at this stage of his career and he has put an end to it.

‘I won’t do that again, because it’s a lot of hassle to pack your bags and go just to play one or two games,’ he said. ‘I won’t do that unless a promoter wants to put a sizeable cheque in the bank account and then I’ll take two days out of my life.

‘It’s actually a day travelling, a day travelling back, a day playing and I just haven’t got those days to waste just to go and play one or two games.

‘In future, if that’s the set-up, if a promoter wants me to be in the tournament then he would have to pay for that privilege because I’m not prepared to do that again because time’s too valuable.

‘I haven’t played one of those qualifying matches for five or six years, I can’t remember the last time I played one. It was just because it was the pandemic so I thought, “sod it I might as well enter everything because there’s no China tournaments on.” But no I wouldn’t do that again, no.’

Ronnie O'Sullivan

O’Sullivan says ‘life’s too good to put myself through that sort of stuff’ (Picture: Zhai Zheng)

O’Sullivan says his decision is made now and it would take another pandemic for him to change his mind.

‘It’s nothing to do with the venue,’ he said at the English Open. ‘It’s just all the hassle. Pack your bag, get on the train, get someone to meet you the other end, get in the hotel, unpack, play one or two games.

‘I just can’t justify the effort for the reward, it’s just not worth it. Unless a tournament is played from start to finish…like I said I’m on holidays, I’m here all week whether I win or not. If I lose I’m on Eurosport, I’ve got my running sorted, got some nice food, I’m going to have a fantastic week.

‘Whereas the qualifiers, you can’t really get into it, rushing about, I felt like a scene out of Planes, Trains and Automobiles the other day. Felt like Steve Martin at the checkout, “Where’s my car?!?”

‘I can’t do this, mate. Life’s too good to put myself through that sort of stuff.

‘You make the odd mistake. Took me five years to make that mistake again it’ll probably take me 10 years to make that mistake again. It might take me 10 years to slip back into a bad decision.’


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