Ronnie O’Sullivan has slammed snooker’s younger generation after he progressed into the quarter-finals of the World Championship.
O’Sullivan beat Ding Junhui 13-10 and will face world No 3 Mark Williams in the last eight at the Crucible.
O’Sullivan and Williams both turned professional in 1992, along with John Higgins, and the Rocket slated snooker’s younger stars when he spoke about the longevity of the older bunch.
O’Sullivan said: “Would I have believed in 1992 Mark and I would still be playing in these matches? Probably no. But when you look at the standard of play, then yes.
“If you look at me and Mark and John, the younger players coming through…they’re not that good really. Most of them might do okay as half decent amateurs.
“They are so bad, a lot of them I think ‘You’d have to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50’. That’s maybe why we are still hovering around!”
O’Sullivan is aiming to win his first world title for seven years though he hasn’t passed the quarters since reaching the 2014 final.
But he believes the empty arena in Sheffield, due to the coronavirus pandemic, is helping him.
The five-time world champ added: “I spoke to Steve Peters – when I go out there my mind is clear, focused on the job. In a Buddhist way, it’s being present.
“It’s a different experience this year, but it’s so much easier to get in and out of the venue.
“Normally that’s why I don’t like this tournament, it’s such a headache, getting in and out. I am virtually spending most of my time here running away from people, trying to escape.
“You want to play snooker and the situation has allowed people to get on with their job, and not play hide and seek.
“Listen, of course it’s better with fans, of course, it’s like playing in a morgue, but it’s also like a village feel, and the players are more relaxed.
“For top players it can be a nightmare. It puts you off wanting to come here, I’d rather go and play in Crawley - that’s how bad it is.”