Hector Nunns interviews Ronnie over corona virus and how the Chinese players feel being stuck in the UK

Ronnie was interviewed by Hector Nunns. He explains that the Chinese players are longing to go back home and don’t trust the UK government over the way they handle the situation. He also explains why he started doing fist bumps.

Here is the interview:

Ronnie O’Sullivan warns Chinese players could snub UK over ‘crazy’ Boris Johnson

O’Sullivan says Chinese players ‘don’t feel safe’ in the UK amid coronavirus pandemic, telling him Prime Minister ‘doesn’t know what he’s doing’

Ronnie O’Sullivan fears snooker’s Chinese stars are set to black-ball the UK over the coronavirus.

The game’s superstar could have played his last match this season with the chances of next month’s World Championship taking place increasingly bleak.

Five-time world champion O’Sullivan, 44, is a hero to many of the UK-based contingent from the Far East – where the outbreak started in Wuhan.

While China’s drastic lockdown, quarantine and travel measures were highly controversial, the number of new cases there has started to fall.

O’Sullivan said: “A lot of the Chinese players have gone back to China or are itching to go back – they don’t feel safe here.


Ronnie O’Sullivan said he knows UK-based Chinese players who are desperate to go back to the Far East (Image: Getty Images)

“I have been in contact with a lot of my Chinese friends out there to see how they are and they were on total lockdown.

“And I have had Chinese players say to me ‘Your prime minister doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s crazy’. I don’t know myself and can’t really comment, but this is what I am hearing.

“They have all got a bit scared and some have gone and others are desperate to, because that’s where they feel safe, and feel like their country is doing what it should be doing.

“And it’s hard to see how players like that will be playing in the World Championship.”

O’Sullivan was mocked in many quarters for refusing to shake hands with opponents and referees at tournaments on health grounds last year before the coronavirus outbreak.

But recent events have shown his actions in a different light, with such behaviour now very much the new norm.

He added: “People were all saying I was mad and this and that, but maybe you look now and think ‘he’s not so mad or crazy after all’.

“I have always been a bit OCD with germs, I don’t open door handles either and use hand tissues as well as starting doing the fist-bumps instead of handshakes last year.

“It was another player Jack Lisowski who got me thinking about that. He beat cancer as a teenager, and had to be very careful with his immune system compromised, avoiding picking up germs.

“I was always getting colds and so I started doing some of the things he was doing and haven’t really had a cold or germs since, so maybe there is something in it.”

Hector today on twitter was insisting that WST should take a decision very quicly regarding the World Championship and announce it now, so that the Chinese players can make their decision knowingly.

For the reasons I developped yesterday, the only sensible decision at this stage would be to cancel it completely.

4 thoughts on “Hector Nunns interviews Ronnie over corona virus and how the Chinese players feel being stuck in the UK

  1. I haven’t heard news of Zhang Anda’s baby, but he’s probably the one who I feel most sorry for – his abandonment of UK means his career could be over. Mei Xiwen actually comes from Hubei, and made a gesture of support during the Shoot-out, clearly concerned about his relatives. But actually very few of the Chinese players would have enough English skills capable to have a protracted political discussion with Ronnie. They were trapped in the UK for several months and obviously very concerned and frustrated. Any comments must be seen in that context, and Ronnie himself is known to be not a great fan of Boris Johnson. It’s easy to see where any conversation would lead.

    I’m doing OK, but aching a bit. I expect it to last a few more days. My biggest challenge is probably getting the insulin balance right as I recover.

    • Yes, I guess it’s easy to “extract” such interview from Ronnie, especially as he’s quite on friendly terms with Hector. I don’t think that it was a political discussion indeed. But it’s very likely that he heard some of the Chinese players expessing their concerns and longing to be with their families. It would only be natural. As for you take extra good care of yourself.

  2. Ronnie isn’t the official spokesman for the Chinese players, and the information probably comes from one or two who he talks to. However, I know a few have given up on the season. Travelling back to China isn’t straightforward either, as they will now get a fairly severe quarantine to avoid bringing back a virus which had been contained.

    Generally, the Chinese can’t understand why the west don’t impose a strict lock-down, but the practice of arresting people on the street who don’t have the right documents is unwelcome – only France have come close to that so far. My 75-year old mother claims she wouldn’t stand for it. I don’t have a choice as I’ve had coronavirus symptoms for a few days, so I have to stay inside.

    • Lewis, first of all, take good care of yourself. I really hope that you won’t develop severe symptoms. France had to go for those severe measures because the people were not complying at all. In big cities like Paris or Lyon this could be catastrophic. Ronnie probably knows the lads who play at the Star Academy and at Vic’s. Also Tian and Li Hang who work with Sightright. Also Zhang Anda who was at the Grove foe a long time, and of course Liang Wenbo and Ding who are close friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted to go home, check on their relatives etc…

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