Ronnie O’Sullivan will refuse to play unless “sizeable cheque” is paid for qualifiers

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan will not play in tournament qualifiers unless promoters are willing to pay for his presence.

O’Sullivan was beaten 5-0 by Hossein Vafaei in the German Masters qualifiers last month, smashing the pack of reds from his break-off in the final frame.

The Rocket was clearly disinterested in the match at that point, and the 45-year-old announced afterwards that he is done with playing separate matches behind closed doors, away from the main arena.

The six-time world champion believes going to the trouble of attending separate qualifiers is too much for him at this stage of his career.

Ronnie O'Sullivan will no longer play in tournament qualifiers - unless he is paid handsomely to do so
Ronnie O’Sullivan will no longer play in tournament qualifiers – unless he is paid handsomely to do so

“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,” O’Sullivan 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.’

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Ronnie O'Sullivan had been appearing at a series of exhibition matches during the summer
Ronnie O’Sullivan had been appearing at a series of exhibition matches during the summer

“But no I wouldn’t do that again, no.”

O’Sullivan declared his decision is final as he simply prefers the atmosphere of a full tournament.

He cited the hurried style of qualifiers as the key reason behind his decision.

“It’s nothing to do with the venue,” O’Sullivan 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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