Not a happy Ronnie …

Ronnie isn’t happy and in his latest Eurosport  blog he tells Desmond Kane why

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Free speech is being stifled in snooker, I’m no longer willing to meet the cost

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan explains why he can no longer accept being fined arbitrary sums for speaking to the media. In his latest exclusive blog, the five-times world champion tells Desmond Kane why he was left with a sour taste in the mouth after winning a record seventh Masters in London.

I was thrilled to win the Masters for a seventh time before another fantastic crowd at Alexandra Palace.

It meant so much to me considering all the ups and downs at the event. As always, I enjoyed the support of the fans so much.

One thing that has slightly taken the shine off my win was receiving another disciplinary letter from the governing body World Snooker about two situations affecting me at the tournament. I’ll try to explain my thoughts here.

Perhaps he was having a bad day at the office, but I felt the referee, Terry Camilleri, was not up to scratch during my semi-final match with Marco Fu at one of our sport’s major events.

And neither was a photographer, who was snapping pictures while I was on the shot.

When asked a question about my match with Marco, all I was giving was my opinion based on 25 years of playing the game. The referee and the photographer affected me so I gave an honest answer to the assembled media about why I wasn’t content with the situation.

What hasn’t been reported was that after the Masters, I made an offer to spend some of my own personal time with Terry to discuss the issue, or in a room with all the referees, to try to help them understand why situations like this occur during matches, and how we can work together to get it right so everybody is happy.

‘IMPORTANCE OF ETIQUETTE IN SPORT’

When I was leading 5-4 against Marco, a pivotal moment of the match, I was going for a very important pot at the start of the 10th frame.

As I’m down on the shot, the guy started moving his camera in my eyeline to get the picture he wanted. I got up off the shot to ask him to keep still while he was in my vision.

I had to ask him at least three times to stop moving while he was in my eyeline. In the end, I had to change the pot I was going for because he wasn’t listening. Is that fair?

He obviously didn’t know the etiquette of not moving in a snooker player’s eyeline while the player is on the shot. It happens a lot in golf, and golf is constantly stressing the need for photographers to respect players before they hit the ball. It should be the same in snooker.

I understand the demands on me to help project a positive image for snooker, but in a sport where we are told all players must be treated equally, the top 16 players the same as the world number 128, is it really fair that cameras are clicking on shots while other players are left alone to play without this distraction?

It is almost feels like you pay the price for getting further in tournaments when there is inevitably more interest.

Out of pure frustration, I said to the cameraman who was among the reporters: “you’re a f****ing nightmare mate, you obviously don’t know not to move in the players eyeline while the player is on a shot”.

I’m not excusing the swearing, and I apologise for that. I’m not trying to upset anyone, all I’m asking for is a sense of decorum during the match. We are all there trying to do our best to entertain, and I know photographers have an important role to play, but we have all have to respect each other.

I didn’t swear on TV, only to 10 or 15 journalists who record comments after the game. Nobody has even heard what I said because it was edited out by the BBC.

I’m not saying I was right to swear, but the photographer could have cost me the match. It was such a tight contest that could have gone either way.

It is appalling to think I could have played a shot that was prompted by a photographer not respecting the etiquette.

It would be good to know what steps World Snooker take to make sure new photographers know the etiquette before letting them snap away when they are only six feet from the table.

‘FINED FOR ANSWERING QUESTIONS HONESTLY’

I don’t know what the outcome is going to be of these two situations, but I will no longer be talking in depth in press conferences or interviews because when I share my thoughts, I risk being fined.

This is not the first time this has happened. There have been several fines I’ve had to pay in the past, and they are not small fines.

For some reason, I appear to get fined more than all the fines the other players get for similar offences.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions from that.

In fact, some other players don’t get reported for similar things they have done. Sadly, I feel some of it is a bit personal. Why? Because it has been going on for years.

From now on, when I don’t say much in my interviews regarding snooker, you know why. I will no longer put my head on the chopping block. I don’t need the PR good or bad.

I feel that I’m good to be used for headlines and promotion when it suits, and I think I do more than most in giving my time for interviews.

But then I’m quickly jumped upon the minute my opinions don’t suit them.

It feels like they want to give you it in one hand when you are winning prize money then take it away with the other with their arbitrary fines.

Are the fines worked out by a means testing system? If so, that is simply unfair.

I’m left with two options:

  • a) find a new tour to play on because I still love playing, but not with this constant silliness going on, or
  • b) not speak or give full answers when being questioned about snooker

This is a very sad place to be when you have to resort to that.

If I get fined for implementing the second option then I will no longer be prepared to perform all the contractual obligations we are asked to do for World Snooker.

‘TONE AND TIMING OF LETTERS’

It is not just about the fines.

It is the tone of the letters, and also the timing of them. I’ve received them one day before I’m due to play a big event. How is that helpful to a player preparing for a tournament?

I’m not prepared to continue accepting this when it is evident the governing body don’t seem to have set fines or proper explanations about why people are fined certain amounts.

n view of what’s happened, I think the best way for me to communicate my thoughts, and update everyone in my own words, is by issuing this blog every two weeks.

I think it’s important that I am completely transparent, and let people know exactly what is going on.

This is not a rant, but a measured and factual way that I can communicate with all the people out there without the meaning of my words being twisted and turned into something they are not.

If the president of the US communicates via social media, why can’t I?

In his latest ES blog Ronnie clarifies his “car-boot sales” comments

Speaking to Desmond Kane, Ronnie explains why he said what he said, read it here.

I love snooker, but BBC Sports Personality snub shows we must change attitudes to our great sport

Ronnie O’Sullivan tells Desmond Kane why snooker is one of the world’s great sports as he sets the record straight on claims he was trying to criticise the game he loves during the UK Championship in York.

The five-times world champion says he simply cannot understand why snooker has been snubbed by the BBC Sports Personality awards for over a quarter of a century, and ignored by some newspapers in its lack of coverage for such a popular sport.

I want to use my latest blog to clarify my comments during the UK Championship in York that have been made to look like I was criticising the sport. .

I was asked why I thought snooker players and myself in particular were never on the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

My answer to the question was honest and simple: I don’t think snooker is an important enough sport compared to other sports such as tennis, F1, golf, football, cricket, horse racing, boxing and Olympic sports. The list goes on and on.

“If you look at all the nominees over the past 10-15 years, you will see that it is people from the sports listed above that have been shortlisted. Snooker has not featured in the top three since Stephen Hendry was nominated behind Paul Gascoigne in 1990. Which tells its own story. “

‘Prize money adds prestige’

My next point was that I believe if snooker can get to the point where winners collect £1million cheques like they do in golf, tennis and F1, then I believe that would help to change the perception of the sport as the game looks to attract more interest across the globe.

“Bigger prize money would contribute to bringing the sport back to the level of prestige and importance it obviously should enjoy and reached in the 1980s when at the height of Steve Davis’ fame, it was said he spent more time on TV than the PM Maggie Thatcher. “

We had Mark King and Anthony Hamilton telling us how skint they were only four weeks ago. These are two leading players who have been in the top 20 consistently over the past 15-20 years.

I’m not sure this is the perception that any sport wants.

“This was my next point, and I always think it’s important to understand why things are as they are and where you sit within that situation: football rights are worth over £5bn-8bn for three years. Maybe more. BBC pays £6-8 million for the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters for the same period.”

I’m no maths genius, but it’s not hard to work out why snooker is where it is in the pecking order.

‘Traditional media don’t cover the sport properly’

I believe sometimes snooker is fighting for column inches in newspapers which is a problem that has been around for years when it is up against football.

It suits some people to make my comments sound like I’m criticising snooker when that’s the last thing I was doing.

All I was doing was answering a question honestly put to me on why I think snooker is not competing with other sports in the annual Sports Personality of the Year.

“I think the World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has done a great job so far with snooker. There’s more snooker than ever. More playing opportunities than ever. Full credit to Barry for what he has achieved. “

Happy days for everyone involved in snooker.

‘Snooker was built for TV like tennis’

As far as saying snooker is cheap TV, it is.

“Snooker was a sport made for television back in the 1970s because it is easy and cheap to cover. Otherwise, it would never be on TV. “

Most sport is considered cheap television in comparison to what TV pays for other entertainment when you look at drama and movies.

I stand by what I say as factual.

This is something I’ve learned myself only recently since working on TV projects.

It’s great that we never stop learning.

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie’s latest blog on Eurosport is out

Ronnie was talking to Desmond Kane again today

The blog post contains videos and images not included here, so make sure you check them

Ronnie O’Sullivan exclusive: ‘This season has been a nightmare, but I’m good enough to end slump’

In writing his first blog of the season, Ronnie O’Sullivan explains to Eurosport’s Desmond Kane why he has struggled for peak form.

Despite losing a thrilling European Masters final 9-8 to Judd Trump earlier this month, the five-times world champion is not happy with his game after losing to Michael Holt in the last 16 of the International Championship and Shanghai Masters and the last 32 of the English Open to Chris Wakelin.

Here Ronnie discusses honestly the ongoing challenges he faces to remain competitive, and why he may have to accept losing to become a winner again.

‘I must improve to challenge for trophies’

It’s not been a great start to the season.

In fact, I’d say it’s been a bit of a nightmare.

I’ve feel like I’ve only played two or three good matches out of 15 – that works out at one good match in five which is not really going to be enough to win events these days.

To be fair, since winning the Welsh Open earlier this year, I haven’t gone beyond the last 16 of any event apart from losing to Judd in the European Masters final in Bucharest.

I’m not sure I want the pressure of it all. I’ve enjoyed branching out into other areas away from the table.

It is something I never wanted to do, but I felt I had no choice at my age and stage of my career .

Snooker is very hard these days. There are loads of events, and lots of travelling.

Unless you win tournaments regularly, there are not great rewards for the top players. But the demands are no less when you have to travel to Barnsley, Wigan and Preston to play qualifying matches.

It is not something I relish, but I accept it is part of the way the game has gone.

I admit it was hard sitting out the sport when I still felt like I had something to offer. That’s why I came back to playing after some time out. But after coming back, the idea of playing was better than the reality.

What I really missed was being at the events and getting the buzz from playing: seeing the boys, the TV people and the tournament officials.

They are like a tapestry of my life. That’s why I’ve enjoyed the punditry work so much, and working at the English Open in Manchester earlier this month.

In fact, I got as much enjoyment out of doing the punditry as I do playing sometimes – that’s great news as I look to the future.

‘I’m committed to snooker, but not only as a player’

I’ll still play snooker just in case everything else goes belly up. That’s the one thing I can do forever without having a boss.

But for now, it will have to fit in around all the other things I do. I need to make snooker become part of what I do, instead of all I do.

The fun bit is seeing if I can nick a competition now and again. I nearly managed it in Romania, but came up short.

I suppose the fans that follow me will have to get their heads around it, just like I’m trying to. I still know that on my game I’m capable of winning events. That I have no doubt about.

But finding the time to practice and play in most of the events at the highest level is proving very difficult.

You don’t always want to go to the club and play for four or five hours, the drive is not the same as you get older.

At the moment, the tour seems like it’s there to cater for 128 players which at my stage of my career makes it a mammoth challenge.

Playing seven matches is hard enough, but to go to Preston and Barnsley to qualify as well just makes it too gruelling.

It’s fine for the younger guys starting out, but it’s not really suitable for me. It wasn’t suitable for me five years ago so it’s only going to get worse as I get older.

But I also have to accept that my best days are probably behind me. I don’t think they are going to get any better than the previous five years I had.

I suppose what I’m trying to do is manage everyone’s expectations of me from this moment on.

Don’t get me wrong, I know things can be fickle. One minute you’re flying, the next you are not.

I know things can turn around quickly. No one wants that more than me.

Not good enough?

This evening, the BBC reports these quotes from Ronnie

Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is ‘not good enough’ to compete with world’s best

Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is “not good enough to compete with the best players in the world”.

The Englishman beat Xiao Guodong to reach round two of the International Championship in Daqing, China.

World number nine O’Sullivan, 40, said he is “nowhere near” the level he was two years ago.

“I haven’t had any good results but that tells you where I am with my game,” he said.

O’Sullivan won his sixth Masters title in January and the Welsh Open in February.

However, since then he lost in the first round of the World Grand Prix, the second round of the World Championships in April, the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters and the last 32 of English Open.

He was beaten by world number three Judd Trump in the final of the European Masters this month.

“I am not going to turn my back on the game yet,” said O’Sullivan, who revealed he enjoys punditry more than playing.

“I enjoy playing but I am probably not good enough to compete with the best players in the world because they are at their peak.

“I will still keep playing and hopefully will get a result, and if I don’t I am just enjoying playing.”

O’Sullivan will play Kurt Maflin on Tuesday in the ranking event in Daqing, the richest tournament staged outside the UK.

There were also first-round wins for world champion Mark Selby, Trump, Ding Junhui and John Higgins on Monday, but two-time world champion Mark Williams lost to wildcard Xu Si.

Here is my view on the matter:

Whilst it’s true that Ronnie hasn’t played that well (yet) this season, he’s still reached the final of a ranking event, the European Masters earlier this month. He’s also currently 13th in the one-season list, despite missing a number of tournaments over the summer. So, clearly, it’s not all bad.

And we have been there before. Remember the lean spell in 2009/10/11? It happens to them all, Williams spent years out of the top 16, and came back, John Higgins had a very bad spell before finding his game again last season. Of course, at 40, time is not on Ronnie’s side, but it’s far too early to write him off.

One thing I believe Ronnie doesn’t want is to be the one bearing the biggest share of the fans expectations. This is a pressure he had to cope with for nearly 25 years now, and it has been his undoing at times. Downplaying his chances might well help the perfectionist he is to cope with those huge expectations (his own included!)

Also why is the BBC nearly always reporting the not-so-positive things, and those only? I wonder.

Indeed, if this article published by sport.sina is to be trusted, there is much more, and more positive too, that was discussed by Ronnie today in Daqing. Here is a translation by Google:

O’Sullivan won the game is very naughty, came to the press conference room, see the table filled with the order book, he is to pick up the pen to start with the signature. Listen to a reporter’s question, he will close the mouth with the microphone, or caress the microphone with the forehead – the original, the snooker genius also has “innocence” side.

Beijing October 24, 2016 World Snooker Championship in Daqing, the second day of competition to start. In the first round, the debut of the game O’Sullivan 6 to 4 victory over Xiao Guodong, promotion of the second round. After the game, O’Sullivan admitted that this is a very tough game, “Xiao Guodong is my friend, is a great player before I just beat Robertson in Manchester, am now very confident. I’m very happy. ”

Tonight’s game, O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui are arranged in the live venues to play, but the attendance, O’Sullivan’s popularity is higher. Does this mean that in China, O’Sullivan is more popular than Ding Junhui? For this question, O’Sullivan denied: “I do not think so, I think Ding Junhui is also very popular and I think this is because I do not often come to China to participate in the competition, we want to see me at the scene, so my screening I have a little bit old, Ding Junhui younger than me, he will play more games.

Earlier, O’Sullivan has decided to withdraw from November 1 to 5 in Guangzhou for the China Championship. For the reasons for retirement, O’Sullivan Sina Sports, said: “There are several reasons, such as important because I think the road is relatively far away, the two game time immediately, I want to focus on the game, Because the game is more important. “He said he has been quite Lianbao old smile,” I am now not a twenty-year-old boy, I have a little old, I hope to have some rest time, I attach great importance to this event. ”

The O’Sullivan first came to Daqing entry, his impression of the city how? “The city is beautiful and quiet, and I like the climate, the lake and the food,” he added, “you know I like food very much.

(Dong Zhengxiang from Daqing)

Imperfect as this translation might be, it’s quite obvious that he was in a rather positive mood albeit a bit mischievous. It’s also clear that he discussed a lot of different subjects with the press: his popularity in China, the reasons why he withdrew from the Evergrande in Guangzhou (basically because he wants to stay fresh and that event isn’t ranking) and his impressions of the city and, of course, the food!

2016/17 Season: Snooker on Eurosport

Worldsnooker has published this article, explaining how and what snooker fans across Europe will be able to watch this season.

Thursday 23 Jun 2016 02:19PM

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Snooker fans throughout Europe can watch many of the season’s biggest tournaments anywhere and on any device through the Eurosport Player, the leading live and on-demand digital sport platform.

Eurosport Player is available to download and watch in 52 markets and in 20 languages, offering fans an all-access pass to immerse themselves in the greatest events on the global sporting calendar.

With live and on-demand content available anytime, fans can experience sport in the way that they enjoy best and access enhanced live features, such as additional feeds and camera angles.

The 2016/17 World Snooker Tour is now underway and a wide range of tournaments will be available to watch this season on Eurosport and via the Eurosport Player including all three Triple Crown events and the new Home Series.

Fans across Europe can subscribe from just 5.99€ a month and £4.99 a month in the UK, offering fantastic value and the chance to watch the best snooker stars on the planet battling for the most prestigious trophies.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We recently signed a momentous and wide-ranging ten year deal with Eurosport and we are delighted that many of our tournaments will be available to watch on the Eurosport Player.

“This gives the opportunity for our many millions of fans throughout Europe to watch snooker anytime and on any device. It’s shaping up to be a fascinating season and one thing is for sure: there will be no shortage of drama and an incredible standard of play.”

To find out more about the service and range of compatible devices, click here.

Eurosport’s coverage of the World Snooker Tour events is also available in the UK via Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV.

Click here for more information on Eurosport’s ten year deal with World Snooker


Snooker 2016/2017 season on Eurosport

 All tournaments below available on the Eurosport Player:

 

Date

Tournament

22-24 June

Riga Masters*

5-9 July

Indian Open

25-31 July

World Open*

25-28 Aug

Paul Hunter Classic

30 Aug – 2 Sept

Shanghai Masters Qualifiers

5-10 Sept

Six Red World Championship

19-25 Sept

Shanghai Masters*

27-30 Sept

International Championship Qualifiers

3-9 Oct

European Open*

10-16 Oct

English Open*

23-30 Oct

International Championship*

14-20 Nov

Irish Open*

22 Nov – 4 Dec

UK Championship*

6-9 Dec

German Masters Qualifiers

12-18 Dec

Scottish Open*

15–22 Jan

The Masters*

24-27 Jan

China Open Qualifiers

1-5 Feb

German Masters*

6-12 Feb

World Grand Prix* (excluding UK)

13-19 Feb

Welsh Open*

24-26 Feb

Shoot Out (Europe, excluding UK)

3-5 March

Gibraltar Open*

6-12 March

Players  Championship* (excluding UK)

27 March – 2 April

China Open*

5-12 April

World Championship Qualifiers*

15 April – 1 May

World Championship*

 

*Also broadcast on Eurosport TV