2022 Northern Ireland Open – Ronnie goes out in the last 64 round

Ronnie was beaten by David Grace in the last 64 round of the 2022 Northern Ireland Open. He lost 4-3 having been 2-0 up.

Here are the scores:

Ronnie didn’t play well even in the first two frames. He was OK in the balls but his long potting was poor and his safeties not as accurate as they should have been. David, after looking nervous in the first two frames, found his game and made very few mistakes when in the balls, his long potting was good too and that made a huge difference. In frame five, David benefitted from an outrageous fluke and took full advantage. Ronnie only scored 11 points in those three frames. In frame six, David’s nerves appeared to return and Ronnie was able to force a decider. David though dominated the last frame.

In the second half of the match, Ronnie played very aggressively, a bit like he did against Mark Selby in the 2020 Crucible semi-final but it didn’t work for him this time. And, to be fair, he didn’t have the best of luck either.

here is the end of the match, shared by Eurosport on their snooker YouTube channel:

Alan McManus and Jimmy White, in the studio, said that Ronnie was “in control” when he went v2-0 up. It never felt that way to me. He wasn’t getting the long ones and was fidgeting a lot with his tip and that’s never a good sign.

As a Ronnie fan I’m disappointed of course, but I’m also happy for David who is one of the kindest, nicest guys on tour, and a sensitive and talented artist. I hope that he has a deep run in Belfast now.

Ronnie said after his first match that he hadn’t practiced at all since returning from Hong Kong. It showed, and it also tells us that even the best players need to put the work in and, if they don’t, they get found out.

I can’t help but wonder if Ronnie really has the required motivation for the smaller events right now. His game is there, we saw that in Hong Kong and he battled from 4-1 down to beat Neil Robertson by 6-5 in the semi-finals. Today however, I couldn’t sense at all the kind of intensity he was oozing in that match and throughout that tournament.

This may be an issue if he wishes to play in the “Cazoo Series”. These are tournaments he usually loves playing but he needs to be in the top 32 in the one year list. At the time of writing he’s provisionally 73d on that list. I expect Ronnie to find some motivation and form ahead the UK Championship … I hope he does.


BBC just published this which confirms that Ronnie state of mind isn’t great…

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Seven-time world champion lacks ‘passion and desire’ for snooker

29 minutes ago

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI at the Waterfront Hall


Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan won the recent Hong Kong Masters final in front of a crowd of 9000

Ronnie O’Sullivan says snooker has “become like an emotionless-type job” after his second-round defeat by David Grace at the Northern Ireland Open.

The seven-time world champion suffered a shock 4-3 loss to the world number 62 after building a 2-0 lead.

“I don’t really have the passion and desire for it [snooker]. I give it what I feel like it deserves,” O’Sullivan told the BBC in Belfast on Wednesday.

“If I had to choose to do this I wouldn’t. I don’t care any more.”

He added: “The job ain’t worth the stress and the hassle. Sometimes a loss is a blessing in disguise, it just allows me to do other stuff.”

O’Sullivan lost to lower-ranked Swiss player Alex Ursenbacher in the first round of the British Open in September, before going on to beat Marco Fu in the final of the Hong Kong Masters.

The 46-year-old lost to Judd Trump 9-7 in three consecutive Northern Ireland Open finals between 2018 and 2020. 

Trump also exited this year’s tournament at the second-round stage, going down 4-1 to Cork’s Aaron Hill on Tuesday.

O’Sullivan raced into a 2-0 lead against his fellow Englishman but Grace fought his way back into the match with breaks of 57, 94 and 64, and although O’Sullivan took a scrappy sixth frame to level, his opponent held his nerve to win the decider.

I’ve got a rule, I don’t really talk about any of my matches, I leave it out there, it is what it is,” said reigning world champion O’Sullivan.

I let others analyse and criticise while I move on and have a bit of lunch.

If I can play one good tournament a year that will do for me, cut the mediocre ones. That’s enough really.

I quit mentally about eight years ago and I just take what I can from the sport. It’s a good platform for me, allows me to do other stuff and gives me a lot of freedom.

As far as winning goes or cementing my name in the game there isn’t enough good stuff in the game to get excited about.

One day I’ll wake up and get excited and play a good tournament, but if I don’t I don’t really care any more.

I’ll pot a few balls, get paid, it’s just become like an emotionless-type job. I just make it work for me.

David Grace
David Grace recovered from 2-0 down to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan is also working as a television pundit in Belfast, and despite his indifference about his own performance he describes the Waterfront as “a great venue”, the crowd as “unbelievable” and the event “brilliant”.

I wouldn’t even play in the tournament if I wasn’t working for Eurosport. I wouldn’t play, wouldn’t do it at all,” he said.

The game doesn’t interest me, the events don’t interest me, the calendar doesn’t interest me, just making a business out of it kind of interests me.

I’ve earned that right, really. I can do what I like when I like, and if I never win another match I think I’ve earned the right to do it my way.

😟 …

And this, more positive from Eurosport:


Seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is writing a new book after his shock defeat to David Grace in the second round of the Northern Ireland Open. O’Sullivan was set to take a relatively simple win when 2-0 up, but lost the match on a decider. He praised his opponent, but also added snooker is “not the main priority” for him at the moment.

By Nigel Chu

Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed he is writing a new book and that snooker is “not the main priority” for him right now following his shock defeat to David Grace at the Northern Ireland Open.

O’Sullivan was 2-0 up on Grace in their second-round match, but was beaten in a decider in Belfast after some erratic shots.

The Rocket has been doing some punditry in the Eurosport studio this week and will provide more analysis for the rest of the tournament in Belfast.

I don’t really analyse my matches any more,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “I got beat so I can do a bit of punditry work now.

I can concentrate on writing a few chapters in my book, I can try and get a bit of practice.

I suppose the practice tables are a bit emptier now so I’ll just enjoy the next few days of this tournament and have a bit of relaxation time.

Asked if another autobiography was coming, O’Sullivan answered: “I can’t say what it is because they want to announce what it is. I’m just busy at the moment, so snooker isn’t the main priority.

It’s just finding time to fit everything in so if one thing doesn’t go well you’ve got something else to fall back on.

I just enjoy my life. In some ways a loss is good for me because it allows me to do my punditry. If I were to choose between punditry and playing at this stage in my career, it would be that [punditry].

It allows me to do stuff I really like to do. I can do some stuff with my book tonight which is time consuming, it’s enjoyable. But it’s just different things at this stage in my life you just want a bit of variety in your life.

Too much snooker makes you not too happy I suppose.”

O’Sullivan says his opponent, who will play Tian Pengfei in the third round, was a worthy winner.

He deserved his win, [he] played fantastically well,” said O’Sullivan.

The snooker gods made the right result today.”


The difference of tone between those two reports on what Ronnie said is striking. It’s obvious that the two journalists have very different agendas here. I doubt that Ronnie went to talk in two separate post-matches interviews. Also it’s rarely mentioned if a quote was something said spontaneously or in answer to a question. Quotes reported out of context can create a very misleading impression.

11 thoughts on “2022 Northern Ireland Open – Ronnie goes out in the last 64 round

  1. The thing I don’t quite understand is why Ronnie bothers to enter an event when he’s isn’t in the mood to play snooker and is most likely just going to lose in the early rounds. It doesn’t seem to do much good for him to play poorly when he’d rather be doing something else. If he doesn’t want to play, then why play…?

    • The problem is Mark that they have to enter the event weeks before it actually happens. Remember… this one started in August for those who had to qualify. But the draw had to be made before those qualifiers. Plus those Home Nations events are Eurosport events and Ronnie probably feels compelled to enter them. And also, a lot of top seeds are out already, not just Ronnie. The season has been quite stop start for them. They barely played at all. None of them looks sharp. The whole organisation of the calendar so far has been shambolic.

      • I think it is absolutely true that he has to enter and who knows how he will play or how he will feel. And I think it also makes a lot of sense what I think Perry said that they are in one form during the qualifiers and then in a different one when the actual tournament happens. Personally while I hope Ronnie will make enough points to qualify for the Cazoo-series, I just wish that after a loss like yesterday he said bad day in the office, congratulations to the opponent and now I go to do other things, instead of these tirades about not caring (for 8 years, yeah right), which nobody really believes and which does him no justice.

      • He did congratulate his opponent Csilla. He said that David played fantastically well. As for the tirade … They are interviewed minutes after the match. The losers are raw and hurt and I have heard all sorts in my time in the media room. Wether the press reports it, or only part of it, and how, depends on the editor and if they think they can make a “story” about it, a story that sells of course. Unfortunately for him Ronnie always “sells”. This is the reason why I published both the BBC and Eurosport accounts. You will have noticed how different they are, be it about what the chose to report, or not, and the tone of it.

      • I know he congratulated. I meant that this is the ONLY thing he should say :). I think I loved that time when he did the “robotic” answers. I know he was in a bad rout with the media and the snooker authorities then, but it was also a good laugh and these terse sentences were probably the safest.

  2. Ronnie is working hard on his running these days, and by that I mean he is not running hard. He is training after injuries and keep getting annoyed with what he calls ‘niggles’. It seems like one niggle replaces another for him these days. Running after injuries is very testing on your patience, because you want to run hard after being docile for a while, but you can’t, because you get more injured. He may not say so in interviews, but his mind will be somewhat preoccupied on his running at this time.

  3. I’m glad to hear that Ronnie’s writing a new book. I wouldn’t mind if it were another autobiography that covers the time from “Running” until now. I would be interested to read his reflections on the 2014 WSC loss, and the 2020 and 2020 WSC wins. (Not that we haven’t heard him reflect on those events at all).

    I’m not too concerned about Ronnie’s comments. His life, his snooker career, and being a Ronnie fan are a pretty constant roller coaster of very high highs and very low lows, and as a fan, you have to learn to accept the underwhelming losses to inferior players along with the record-setting wins. He just won a prestigious event a few weeks ago, so losing early at the NI Open really isn’t a big deal and it was clear that Ronnie wasn’t intending to make it very far into the draw this week.

  4. Well, it is not a good state of mind, or he is annoyed by the way he squandered a 2-0 lead in a match where 2-0 meant he had half the match won. It is not too nice towards the opponent though. Usually he is nicer about them, so he might be more upset /annoyed than he cares to say. (While Trump was almost crying out his eyes.)

  5. It was disappointing. I hoped he could make it to the SF at least to collect some points for the Cazoo series . I’m not surprised if he is not overly enthusiastic about these best of 7 matches/tournaments, but it would be the most unfortunate if he showed enthusiasm for the Champion of Champions and missed out on the WGP where he is the defending champion (or tried to scrap together points later for the Cazoo, like he did 2 years ago). Hopefully the UK, which is proper snooker and this time the seeding might be to Ronnie’s liking, will be more successful for him.

  6. I think this is the kind of season we should expect from Ronnie this year. There will probably be many (smaller) events where he doesn’t adequately prepare, isn’t particularly concerned about, and loses in the early rounds, and a smaller number of (larger) events where he takes it more seriously, plays better, and either wins or at least makes it to the QF/SF/F.

    In one of his recent interviews he said something to the effect that he plays 80% of the time in the “green zone” (where he’s just enjoying himself and not trying too hard), and 20% in the “red zone” (where he’s actually trying to win and might end up having to go “the dark places”).

Comments are closed.