World-Class Player Continues Absence, on ‘Doctor’s Orders’
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/30/2012 -- World champion Snooker-player Ronnie O’Sullivan will not be attending an international championship this week due to poor health. The English professional, known as ‘The Rocket’ for his rapid style of play, was expected to break a four-month absence from the sport in the Chengdu event.
O’Sullivan said that he has been advised by his doctor not to travel, and would not be attending the event, as planned, but wanted to apologize: "I want to sincerely apologise to World Snooker, the sponsors and the fans for the disappointment caused."
The top-level snooker player will be missing out on the richest tournament China has ever held. First-prize is £125,000 from a total of £600,000 in payouts to other ranking players.
O’Sullivan’s absence began in June when he decided to “take some time off”, refusing to sign an official players’ contact that he said was “onerous”. O’Sullivan had accused World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn of “blackmailing” players and was upset at the changes in the circuit, which now includes 27 events over 50-weeks.
The 36-year-old champion missed the first three events of the professional season, the Wuxi Classic, Australia Open, and Shanghai Masters, which were won by Ricky Walden, Barry Hawkins and John Higgins, respectively. Missing the tournaments caused O’Sullivan’s circuit ranking to drop down to 17 in the world.
He returned to play a non-ranked game against Simon Bedford in September, losing in the first round of the Players Tour Championship event in Gloucester. O’Sullivan has played six Snooker Legends matches in exhibition play against Jimmy White, most recently in Liverpool on Thursday night with O’Sullivan coming out on top, 5-4, to tie the series at 3-3.
The next ranking tournament, the UK Championship, is set to begin on December 1st, though it remains to be seen if O’Sullivan will attend. He has won the event a total of four times, his most recent win in 2007.
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