Ronnie O'Sullivan clashes with Mark Allen during tense game
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Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan made history last month, after becoming the joint most successful world champion in the sport’s history by winning a seventh Crucible crown. O’Sullivan put in a vintage performance to see off rival Judd Trump in the finale, to extend his long-standing success at the famous Sheffield arena. As has often been the case whilst in South Yorkshire, the Rocket’s route to success was not short of controversy, from a run-in with a referee to a furious cue slam mid-match. From his 2022 antics and beyond, here is a look at some of O’Sullivan’s most outrageous World Championship outbursts.
2022 – Cue slam vs John Higgins
O’Sullivan took on long-time rival John Higgins in a show-stopping semi-final clash at this year’s tournament. Despite getting the better of Higgins overall, the Rocket still had time for his frustrations to boil over during the clash.
During the third frame, the Englishman found himself 59-25 behind when rolling in a black. However he uncharastically lost control of the cue ball, leaving a tricky shot at the next red ball. Unhappy with the mistake, O’Sullivan crashed his cue into the ground twice. He would go on to miss his next attempt, however, he put in a stellar performance throughout to secure a semi-final victory.
2022 – Referee row vs Judd Trump
Following his victory over Higgins, O’Sullivan’s next task was against Trump in the final, and like his semi-final clash there was once again a moment where the Rocket saw red. With O’Sullivan 2-1 ahead, he was keen to make referee Olivier Marteel aware of the position of the white ball due to being snookered. He thought he could catch the edge but missed, and TV replays were needed to replace it.
Once the ball was replaced the official claimed he could visibly see the edge of the red ball, and a viable attempt was on. O’Sullivan however disagreed, and comically responded: “No, I can’t. You try?” before gesturing to hand over the cue.
This was not the end of O’Sullivan and Marteel’s frosty exchanges, as the referee appeared to give the Rocket a telling off mid-match, before the snooker star let his feelings known by appearing to throw comments towards Marteel as the opening session of the final came to end. Post-session he told Eurosport: “He just seems to be looking for trouble, I get that vibe from the guy.”
2020 – Rocket slams snooker standard
The longevity of O’Sullivan certainly can’t be questioned. The Englishman remarkably made his world championship debut all the way back in 1993, 29 years before his seventh world triumph last month. When asked what was behind his long-lasting run at the top, O’Sullivan didn’t put it down to his superb talents, but instead took aim at the standard of snooker the newest wave of players have brought to the table.
Speaking to BBC at the 2020 event he said: “If you look at the younger players coming through they’re not that good really. Most of them wouldn’t even… they would probably do well as half decent amateurs, do you know what I’m saying, not even amateurs.
“They are so bad that a lot of them you see now you think ‘I’ve got to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the world top 50, you know what I mean? That is really why we are still hovering round, just because of how poor it is down that end.”
1996 – Assault of a press officer
Arguably O’Sullivan’s most controversial moment at the sport’s marquee event came back in 1996, when he was suspended for two years and fined £20,000 for assaulting press officer Mike Ganley. The assault took place after one of the Rocket’s friends entered the press room to get a glimpse of the action on a TV.
After making his way in, O’Sullivan’s friend was asked to leave by Ganley, which led to the now seven-time world champion assaulting the press official. The Englishman admitted the attack and later released a statement apologising, before being handed a suspended ban and his £20,000 fine.
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