More Singapore pictures and David Grace’s take on Ronnie and Zhao collaboration

Phil Haigh and Nick Metcalfe are back with their podcasts after a short summer break. The last one features David Grace, one of the nicest and most interesting character on the tour. The link to the podacast is in the article blelow.

The article itself reports on David’s opinion on Ronnie and Zhao’s collaboration and what he expects of Zhao in the near future.

Ronnie himself said that he can work with Zhao because they are similar, he wouldn’t be able to help players who are too different from himself.

This is what David thinks about Ronnie’s work with Zhao and the possible outcome of such collaboration:

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Zhao Xintong a ‘match made in heaven,’ reckons David Grace

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Zhao Xintong
Ronnie O’Sullivan is continuing to work with Zhao Xintong (Pictures: Getty/Zhai Zheng)

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Zhao Xintong seem like a match made in heaven, believes David Grace, as the Rocket continues to help the Cyclone develop his game.

The world number one was working with the UK champion last season, giving him general advice on the game and looking to impart some wisdom on shot selection and tactics.

The seven-time world champion thinks very highly of the 25-year-old, saying he has the talent to become the greatest player ever and wants to help him fulfil his potential.

With the greatest player in the game’s history in the corner of one of the most talented young stars in the sport, it is an exciting prospect and one that world number 55, Grace, reckons will work for all parties involved.

‘Seems like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? I think Ronnie could only work with players as talented as Zhao,’ Grace told the Talking Snooker podcast.

He couldn’t come along and turn me into a heavy scorer or a 16 seconds-a-shot merchant, could he, let’s be honest.

He needs to be working with that level of player and that’s what will excite him. I think Ronnie will really enjoy it as well.’

Zhao began fulfilling his immense potential last season when he won the UK Championship and German Masters – his first two ranking events.

Much will be expected of him this campaign, but Grace has urged some caution and feels it will be a good season if the world number six can go deep in tournaments more consistently.

‘If he consolidates being a top 16 player and gets to the business end of a few tournaments, I think that’s fine for him,’ said the Yorkshireman.

He’s suddenly gone from where he was to winning two tournaments in such a short space of time, it’ll be difficult for him to do that again, I can’t see that happening again.

But you never know, that might be the breakthrough that he needed and he might go on to achieve things that people didn’t think he was capable of.

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David Grace reckons expectations should be limited on Zhao Xintong this season (Picture: Getty Images)

O’Sullivan and Zhao’s great relationship has continued over the summer, with the Chinese star going with the world champion to Singapore to play exhibitions at the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy.

The 46-year-old is a big fan of the Cyclone on and off the table and wants to do for Zhao what the legendary Ray Reardon did for him earlier in his career.

He could be the greatest of all time with his talent, his ability,’ said O’Sullivan ahead of the 2022 World Snooker Championship. ‘I always say he’s Roger Federer with a snooker cue in his hands. But he’s got to develop and learn, and he will learn. He’s like me, he’s a quick learner and he’s shown that he’s on it.

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Ronnie O’Sullivan has been with Zhao Xintong in Singapore as they launch the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (Picture: Getty Images)

A bit like what Reardon done with me, he showed me how to defend better. Xintong attacks but it’s sometimes attacking because he’s forced to attack. I said to him, “If you do this better, you’ll always have the upper hand, the more you’ve got the upper hand the more you will feel comfortable. You don’t want to play snooker from desperation.

That’s what I used to do, play from desperation. Attack because I don’t know how to get out of trouble and pot my way out of it. Let’s not do that, get the odds in our favour, but you need to go about it in a certain way for that to happen.

Meanwhile, the pair is still in Singapore.

Some more pictures – well, a lot of more pictures actually – were shared on RoSSA facebook page. This series is about the official opening ceremony.

Here goes…

 

Ronnie, Mink, Zhao and a 147 in Singapore

Ronnie, Mink and Zhao’s visit to RoSSA brought a magic moment when Ronnie made a 147 against Mink. What a way to officially open an Academy!

Here you can watch it, recorded from two differerent perspectives…

And here, as well, a short interview at the opening ceremony. Ronnie wants to develop the sport in Asia. In another part of the interview, he explained again why, as a parent, he wouldn’t want his children to take on snoooker professionally, whilst insisting that he loves his sport. I can relate to what he says. One of my children is a very talented artist, but she can’t make money from her art and you don’t live out of thin air…  In snooker, whatever WST claims, unless you are at the very top, you will struggle.

Reigning and seven-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan launched his inaugural academy in Singapore on Saturday (11 June), and hopes to launch many more in the region to nurture talents in Asia. The Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (RoSSA) is housed in a 16,000 square-foot venue at The Grandstand, with 12 snooker and 16 pool tables. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong graced the opening ceremony with O’Sullivan. Widely-regarded as one of the greatest snooker players of all time, O’Sullivan’s seven world titles is a modern-day record he jointly holds with Stephen Hendry. The 46-year-old also believed the future of the sport lies in Asia with China likely to produce the continent’s first world champion. O’Sullivan also spoke about the difficulties in developing the sport back in the United Kingdom and, citing his own troubles in finding a venue to play the sport.

On the second day, the pros played against members of the public, and Ronnie answer some questions from the fans. That’s about what transpired… but with loads of pictures on social media, mainly thanks to Gappa Gappa …

Ronnie, Mink and Zhao in Singapore

Ronnie, Mink and Zhao Xintong are in Singapore, for the Great Opening of RoSSA, the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy, as well as some exhibitions. Ronnie will be there for a few days.

I didn’t find much about what exactly happened yesterday, but I did find a lot of pictures, a video and reports in the press

Here is one interview for the Singapore press

Snooker: World champion O’Sullivan aims to revolutionise sport in Asia through Singapore academy

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan’s visit to Singapore looks set to be a major boost for the sport.

The seven-time world champion and world No. 1 is in town to launch his first Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (Rossa) at The Grandstand in Bukit Timah and play some exhibition matches with China’s world No. 6 Zhao Xintong, women’s world champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai, Singapore’s Jaden Ong and members of the public.

He will have a hand in developing Rossa’s training curriculum and make more appearances at the academy in the future.

Hoping to leave a legacy and revolutionise and revitalise the sport in Asia, where an estimated 100 million people play it, O’Sullivan said: “I’ve taken enough from the sport. It’s time I give a bit back.”

After having his senses stimulated by a lion dance performance at Rossa on Saturday (June 11), the 46-year-old told The Straits Times how his affection for Asia came about: “Asian players respond to me more. In the UK, everyone just does their own thing and maybe they are a bit shy to share and ask for help.

But when I go to China, a lot of the Chinese players make me eat with them. We build relationships and I feel like a part of them. We play snooker together and I start to want to show them a few things and it just became closer relationships.

London-based O’Sullivan is known to be kind and generous with Asian players on the snooker tour and sometimes drops by Victoria’s Snooker Academy in Sheffield to give pointers to players like Zhao, whom he dubbed the “Roger Federer of snooker” and tipped to be a future world champion for his accuracy and smoothness.

Said the 25-year-old, who has two ranking titles: “It’s amazing how I’m now getting tips from my childhood hero, and how he will show up to help us in times of need, even when it comes to issues with travel documents.

He is a great guy and a great inspiration and I really want to repay his kindness by doing as well as I can.”

Such stories are also why Rossa CEO Gary Tan decided to start the academy with O’Sullivan, and build a professional ecosystem that starts with house rules such as no slippers, no singlets, and no gambling on the premises.

He said: “Discipline, commitment, respect and focus are paramount for us. We want to do the right things, and to do things right. To be the best like Ronnie, you need to have the right approach to the game. Instilling the right values will help create the right culture so players from our academy can have the desired focus and drive to succeed.

Rossa plans to nurture a base of quality young players and provide them competition opportunities at an Asian amateur circuit and then a professional tour. It also aims to open branches in Thailand and China to build a strong base of players to start an Asian circuit.

Despite feeling a little tired after arriving on Thursday, O’Sullivan proved to be a people’s champion, mingling freely and entertaining all wefie requests, helping to respot balls during a friendly between Zhao and Nutcharut, and giving a quick snooker tutorial to the guest-of-honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong.

Mr Tong noted how Rossa is playing a part to take Singapore cuesports to a new level, as it made national pool player Sharik Sayed its first scholar, awarding him free access to practice facilities, a monthly stipend, coaching and mentorship, and sponsoring his overseas tournament participation.

He added: “The opening of Rossa is a vivid example of how private enterprise can contribute to the promotion and development of sport in Singapore.

Private academies and institutions are key stakeholders that the government will continue to work and partner with to build a strong and vibrant sporting culture in Singapore.

And this one in Yahoo News:

Snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan opens academy in Singapore

Chia Han Keong – Editor

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Snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan (left) imparting a few snooker tips to Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth. (PHOTO: Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy)

SINGAPORE — Seven-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan launched his inaugural academy in Singapore on Saturday (11 June), and hopes to launch many more in the region to nurture talents in Asia.

The Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (RoSSA) is housed in a 16,000 square-foot venue at The Grandstand, with 12 snooker and 16 pool tables. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong graced the opening ceremony with O’Sullivan.

“Rather than start our academy in the United Kingdom, where snooker is already well-established, we feel Asia is the future of the sport,” said the 46-year-old Englishman.

“Singapore, with its strong links to the rest of Asia and its reputation as a global city for events, will serve as a strong springboard for us to launch our plans.”

Widely-regarded as one of the greatest snooker players of all time, O’Sullivan’s seven world titles is a modern-day record he jointly holds with Stephen Hendry.

His accolades do not end there though, as he also holds the records for most career ranking titles (39), maximum breaks (15), century breaks (1,169; no-one else has more than 900), and consecutive World Championship main-draw appearances (30).

Academy to develop strong base, organise competitions

RoSSA will seek to develop a strong base of snooker players, and organise competitions where young talents can hone their skills before taking a stab on the professional circuit. It is planning to hold 23 ranking events in 2022, and another 30 mini-tournaments.

It is also working with Cuesports Singapore (CS) to be recognised as one of the national sports association’s Centres of Excellence (COEs). Currently, the Cuesports Academy at Katong Shopping Centre is the only COE, where young players aged 7 to 16 have been training.

There are many young talents playing in snooker halls around the region. But many of them find it hard to sustain a living while playing in domestic amateur tournaments,” said RoSSA chief executive officer Gary Tan.

One of the key targets of RoSSA is to establish a regional amateur circuit which will both provide opportunities for these talents to compete as well as provide a sizeable prize pool for promising players to continue their development.”

To enable promising players to train while they work, RoSSA has provided scholarships to former national snooker player Jaden Ong, 32, and national pool player Sharik Sayed, 34, who is ranked 48th in the world.

RoSSA is hopeful of expanding into the region within the next year, with Thailand the likely next stop for the academy before it looks to expand to China.

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(From left) Snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong and academy CEO Gary Tan opening the academy at The Grandstand. (PHOTO: Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy)

O’Sullivan to take part in snooker tournament

As part of the academy’s launch, O’Sullivan will take part in a four-player snooker tournament featuring China’s Zhao “The Cyclone” Xintong, Thailand’s reigning women’s world champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai, and Ong on 18 June.

RoSSA members and the public may also get a chance to take on O’Sullivan in exhibition matches next week.

Here is the video, shared by RoSSA on their Facebook page:

And here another video of Ronnie in action shared by Gappa Gappa

And the pictures I found on social media, mainly Facebook, and mainly shared by RoSSA and the High End Snooker Wanghin and Gappa Gappa who is with Mink in Singapore.

And here is the schedule for the 4 men’s tournament om 18th of June (shared by RoSSA)

Here’s the schedule for the tournament on the 18th of June!
Session 1: Semi-finals, starting from 12pm
Round 1 (Best of 5) – Zhao Xintong vs Mink
Round 2 (Best of 5) – Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Jaden Ong
Third Place Playoff (Best of 3) – Loser of Round 1 vs Loser of Round 2
Session 2: Final, starting from 5pm
Winner of Round 1 vs Winner of Round 2 (Best of 7)
Who will emerge as Champion? Join us to find out!

 

The 2022 London Masters

The 2022 London Masters was played this week-end at the Alexandre Palace theatre.

The event was won by Ronnie who beat Stephen Hendry by 6-3 in the final.

On Saturday, Reanne Evans played Stephen Hendry in the afternoon, and Ronnie played Jimmy White in the evening. Stephen beat Reanne by 6-4, Ronnie beat Jimmy by 6-5. Ronnie was 3-1 down at the MSI and needed two snookers in the decider.

On Sunday, the afternoon started with some “Snooker Cabaret” before Jimmy beat Reanne by 4-1 in the “Small Final”.  In the evening, the theatre was packed. Ronnie lead Stephen Hendry by 4-0 at the MSI. Stephen fought back to trail only 5-3, but it was in vain as Ronnie took the next frame to win by 6-3.

They had an illustious visitor in the person of Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf. It was allegedly the first time that Sir Ian attended a snooker match live. Hopefully he was treated with some table wizzardy.

Here are some pictures taken over the week-end and shared on social media, mainly by Jason Francis.

 

The fitters who set the table also shared an interesting video about the process of building and tuning the table at the venue before the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibitions – May 2022

Whilst so many players are fighting for their professional status, Ronnie has been touring with the World Trophy, doing exhibitions and meeting the fans in South England, Cornwall and Wales. In Wales he did 3 nights at Darren Morgan’s club and Darren shared a lot of pictures on Facebook.

Darren’s club is, as you would expect, a great place to play snooker and was looked packed on every of the three nights.

Here are the images… en vrac!

 

pictures shared on twitter (Jason Francis) and on Facebook (Darren Morgan)

Not much transpired about the ones in Bridgewater although it seems that, on one night Ronnie made 5 centuries.  In Wales, he was playing the locals and chasing 147’s and eventually … yes, he made one!

147 attempt at Darren’s club

 

 

 

 

Ronnie wins the 2022 Meyerside Masters

Whilst the latest of the 2022 Welsn Open Qualifiers were played in Wolverhampton, Ronnie, Jimmy White, Reanne Evans and Stephen Hendry were in Liverpool to play a two days long Snooker Legends tournament.

The venue was St Georges Hall, an iconic snooker venue where Jo and Fred Davis played in 1952 …

Liverpool-History -1952
Image credits – Thurston Snooker

This magnificent venue hasn’t changed much.

The event was played over four sessions, two days. Snooker Legends events are not actually professional tournaments: the offer the righ mix between “exhibition” entertainment and serious, high quality snooker.

On Saturday, Stephen Hendry faced Jimmy White in the afternoon over best of 11; Jimmy won by 6-1. In the evening Ronnie defeated Reanne Evans by the same score; he made a century, two breaks over 90 and three breaks over 80. In the last frame of the day, he missed on 88 whilst on a maximum. Not bad!

On Sunday, the afternoon started with a bit of “cabaret” and trick shots by John Virgo. A best of 7 match between Stephen Hendry and Reanne Evans followed. Stephen won it by 4-3. In the evening Ronnie faced Jimmy for the title. Jimmy made the better start and lead by 3-0, before Ronne stopped the rot by taking the last frame before the MSI. He then won the next three to lead by 4-3. Jimmy wasn’t going to roll over though and the match went to a deciding frame. Eventually Ronnie won it by 6-5.

Here are some images, shared by Jason and fans on social media.

The event wasn’t streamed as this isn’t allowed by the professional players  contract.

But this video, recorded by a fan, emerged on social media

If anyone wonders about the scores… remember that this is an exhibition event. When Ronnie and Jimmy play in those events, their priority is to give the crowd a good time and they both go for spectacular shots, which are not always the “right” shots. Also, from my own experience, in a more relaxed environment, Jimmy can still play at a very high level much to the delight of his faithful fans.

2022 January – Exhibitions Report

Ronnie played in two exhibitions last week-end

He made a 147 in each of them.

In the first he also made two more centuries, in the second he narrowly missed out on a 155!

The 147 made in Mansfiled is quite the story: Ronnie’s opponent , Rafa, had come from Spain with his wife just for the chance for him to play their idol… this is what happened…

Mansfield28.01.2022-6

Here are some images shared on social media

And the second 147 in Landywood