Ronnie O’Sullivan accused the snooker authorities of bullying and intimidating him in a breathtaking outburst at the Betfred World Championship.
The 41-year-old five-time Crucible champion pointed the finger at World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn and his board. And he revealed the extent of his distress at receiving a letter from disciplinary chiefs after he criticised a referee and photographer during January’s Masters.
Hearn last week criticised O’Sullivan, telling Press Association Sport his recent behaviour in media interviews was “embarrassing”, following a series of bizarre exchanges. O’Sullivan has deliberately and repeatedly given one-word answers to questions he has faced after matches, while in an ITV interview at the World Grand Prix in February he gave a series of responses in a robotic voice.
Ronnie O’Sullivan in action at the Snooker World Championship
After reaching the second round in Sheffield by beating Gary Wilson, O’Sullivan struck back and said: “I phoned Barry up four weeks ago and I said, ‘Barry, I’m done with all you and your board of people’.
“And I’ve got a very good friend of mind who said, ‘Just let my lawyers deal with it’. I won’t get involved with it because I’m not being bullied, I’m not having people doing that to me ever again.
“I’m just fortunate I’ve got a very good friend who’s got very good lawyers and they’ve got my back. I just want to play and have fun. I like Barry, but I’m not being intimidated or bullied any more.”
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