Ronnie O’Sullivan wants to prioritize big-money overseas offers at the expense of British tournaments

Ronnie O’Sullivan has warned he could stop playing tournaments in Britain after his quest for a record-breaking eighth world snooker title was shattered by Stuart Bingham in a major quarter-final at the Crucible.

O’Sullivan will depart next week on an exhibition tour of China, Finland and Bulgaria, insisting he will pick and choose his future tournaments, increasingly prioritizing big-money offers from Saudi Arabia and the Far East .

The 48-year-old recently signed a deal with the Saudis, which ironically requires him to sign a new contract with World Snooker Tour, to fulfill his obligation to participate in the first Saudi Masters in Riyadh at the end of August.

And with four other tournaments planned for China before the end of the year, O’Sullivan expects to collect enough trophies and ranking points to allow him to keep his appearances at the less attractive British events to a minimum.

O’Sullivan said: “I’m contracted to do certain events in China, and I’m contracted to go to Saudi Arabia, so obviously they have a brief first, and then it’s about spending time at home with the family.

“First come, first served. I’ve already registered for eight or nine tournaments, so if I do really poorly in those, I might have to play a few tournaments here, but probably not.

“I don’t just come to events, taxes have to be paid. If people are willing to pay it, I’ll take my cue out of my business. If not, I’m content to never play again and move on and do other things.

O’Sullivan missed a total of ten tour events last season, withdrawing from the majority due to medical reasons. Under the terms of the amended WST contracts, he cannot play exhibitions or other unsanctioned events if they directly conflict with WST tournaments.

Apart from the low-key Championship League, the first British ranking events next season are the back-to-back English and British Opens at Brentwood and Cheltenham respectively in September, followed by the Northern Irish Open in Belfast the following month.


While O’Sullivan’s claim that he only played in the World Championship at the insistence of a new sponsor should be taken with a grain of salt, it inevitably raises questions about his desire to be better than Stephen Hendry in terms of the modern Crucible . titles.

O’Sullivan shrugged off his loss to Bingham, denying suggestions that he had become increasingly agitated during the match, and refusing to comment further on his claim in a Eurosport interview between sessions that referees were “out to to get me.”

The lucrative opportunities elsewhere look set to revive his career, as he shrugged off the defeat to Bingham – and the loss of his number one ranking – and insisted: ‘I love getting my cue out and I love it sound of the balls. .”

O’Sullivan added: “You only get one life and I want to fulfill everything to the maximum, but I am also aware of my value and my time, and what I bring to the sport.

“As long as those needs are met, I’ll keep playing. If not, I hang up the vest and cue. Right now there’s enough going on to keep me interested in the game.


World Snooker Championship: draws and results by round


Best of 19 frames (April 20-25)

  • (1) Luca Brecel 9-10 David Gilbert
  • (16) Robert Milkins 10-9 Pang Junxu
  • (9) Ali Carter 7-10 Stephen Maguire
  • (8) Shaun Murphy 10-5 Lyu Haotian
  • (5) Mark Selby 6-10 Joe O’Connor
  • (12) Kyren Wilson 10-1 Dominic Dale
  • (13) John Higgins 10-6 Jamie Jones
  • (4) Mark Allen 10-6 Robbie Williams
  • (3) Judd Trump 10-5 Hossein Vafaei
  • (14) Tom Ford 10-6 Ricky Walden
  • (11) Zhang Anda 4-10 Jak Jones
  • (6) Mark Williams 9-10 Si Jiahui
  • (7) Ding Junhui 9-10 Jack Lisowski
  • (10) Gary Wilson 5-10 Stuart Bingham
  • (15) Barry Hawkins 8-10 Ryan Day
  • (2) Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-1 Jackson Page


Best of 25 frames (April 25-29)

  • David Gilbert 13-4 Robert Milkins (16)
  • Stephen Maguire 13-9 Shaun Murphy (8)
  • Joe O’Connor 6-13 Kyren Wilson (12)
  • (13) John Higgins 13-12 Mark Allen (4)
  • (3) Judd Trump 13-7 Tom Ford (14)
  • Jak Jones 13-9 Si Jiahui
  • Jack Lisowski 11-13 Stuart Bingham
  • Ryan Day 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)


Best of 25 frames (all matches April 30 – May 1)

  • David Gilbert 13-8 Stephen Maguire (QF 1)
  • (12) Kyren Wilson 13-8 John Higgins (13) (QF 2)
  • (3) Judd Trump 9-13 Jak Jones (QF 3)
  • Stuart Bingham 13-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) (QF 4)


Best of 33 frames (May 2-4)

  • David Gilbert vs. Kyren Wilson (SF 1)
  • Jak Jones vs Stuart Bingham (SF 2)


Best of 35 frames (May 5-6)

  • Winner SF 1 versus Winner SF 2

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