Phil Haigh ✍️
Ronnie O’Sullivan did not seem at all fazed by Hossein Vafaei’s calls for him to retire, although did say: ‘It’ll be a good match if I play him.’
Vafaei made some remarkable comments after qualifying for the World Snooker Championship for the first time on Wednesday, saying the Rocket is not good for snooker and that it is time for him to retire.
‘I was and am still good friends with him, but I don’t like that. Maybe he likes it and gives him a good feeling but I think people should treat him like that as well. I treat him like he deserves.
‘I don’t want to get involved in that kind of conversation really. I like him a lot, I am his fan, I love what he does but sometimes he’s disrespectful, he’s not good for the game.
‘I think he should retire, to be honest with you. He should retire and then the younger generation make the game bigger.’
The strong words from the Prince of Persia have not seemed to bother O’Sullivan, who is well aware that he has said more than a few controversial things over his great career.
The Rocket is certainly not fuming about the criticism, but he might just be a bit more fired up next time they meet on the table.
‘I can’t start criticising when people say something,’ said O’Sullivan. ‘Some of the things I’ve said over the years have been…I look back and laugh at them because some of them have been blinders.
‘I can’t help but laugh, I look back and think, “that was a beauty!” You know what I mean? Sometimes you need to say something just to fire yourself up.
‘Hossein has said what he said. Listen, he’s a great player, he’s a good guy and you know…it’ll be a good match if I play him.’
Vafaei also suggested O’Sullivan had not done enough to grow the game in his position as snooker’s biggest star, saying: ‘I don’t see any improvement, he’s been 20 years on top of this sport and what has he done for us?’ This is my biggest question: What has he done for us?
‘I am the younger generation, I want to see what he’s done for our sport. Where are the big companies?
‘In my opinion he should have his own private jet, but he’s coming and complaining about 10 or 15 grand. You’ve been in the situation to make the game bigger, why haven’t you done it? How many contacts you’ve had to bring car companies or Rolex to our sport to make the game bigger?’
‘He has to go and think why he doesn’t have the private jet or bigger house like a footballer. Now he’s still playing for 70 grand or 50 grand, or he’ll say he won’t play in things.
‘He wants to make our sport small, okay, it’s time to tell him: ‘Retire, man. Retire,’
O’Sullivan and Vafaei are not on the same side of the draw at the World Snooker Championship, so the only stage they can meet is in the final.
With the Iranian on debut and facing Judd Trump in the first round it doesn’t seem likely, but it would cause plenty of excitement if it came to pass.
O’Sullivan begins his latest Crucible campaign against Dave Gilbert on Saturday 16 April.
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This post appeared first on Snooker – Metro.