Funny smells, Aussie accents and robots – five times the Rocket has taken off

Snooker’s biggest name has been making headlines once again.

By Press Association Published: 17 October 2019 - 12.30pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been railing against the facilities at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley during the ongoing English Open.

O’Sullivan followed his second-round win by insisting that “every day in Crawley is a day lost in my life” and criticising the equipment, claiming: “They probably didn’t have the budget to get some decent rests.”

On Thursday, prior to the start of his third-round match against Hossein Vafaei,  O’Sullivan took to Twitter to criticise the perceived cleanliness of the venue’s restaurant.

But World Snooker hit back, denying O’Sullivan’s allegations, describing the area as “spotless” and insisting: “That picture isn’t current as the restaurant area was refurbished six months ago.”

Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at some other memorable outbursts from the ‘Rocket’.

2018/19: English Open, Crawley

O’Sullivan’s social media jibe at the restaurant was just his latest criticism of the Crawley venue, which began in 2018 when he declared it not good enough to host the tournament. He called it a “hellhole” and added: “I don’t know what this gaff is but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.”

2019: Coral Players’ Championship, Preston

O’Sullivan baffled interviewers when he began answering questions in an Australian accent after his win over Barry Hawkins. O’Sullivan said: “When you talk Aussie, the Aussies are just winners mate, you know? You’ve got to love a winner”.

2018: UK Championship, York

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan proposed a breakaway tour prior to retaining his UK Championship title (Richard Sellers/PA)

O’Sullivan started the successful defence of his UK Championship title by saying he was ready to start a breakaway tour. Unhappy at the top players entering a flat draw, he said: “You don’t see Leyton Orient turning up to play (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona. They might play in the FA Cup, not week in, week out. It’s demotivating.”

2017: World Grand Prix, Preston

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan threatened to stop giving media interviews (Adam Davy/PA).

O’Sullivan said he would no longer give in-depth media interviews – something he quickly relented on – and tackled a media commitment by answering in a robotic voice. Saying he was responding to a disciplinary letter from World Snooker after complaining about a referee and a photographer, O’Sullivan answered questions in a short manner, later explaining: “I will no longer be talking in depth in press conferences or interviews because when I share my thoughts, I risk being fined.”

2016: Welsh Open, Cardiff

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan rejected a 147 chance over prize money issues (Gareth Copley/PA)

O’Sullivan turned down a 147 as he beat Barry Pinches, taking a pink for a 146 instead. Afterwards, he made headlines claiming he passed up the maximum because of the low prize money on offer. He told BBC Wales: “I could have got on the black and possibly made a 147. I knew it was 10 grand and I just thought that’s a bit too cheap, really. To make a maxi, it’s such a massive achievement and if they’re going to pay us 10 grand, I think it’s worth a bit more than that.”

2008: China Open, Beijing

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan was reprimanded for post-match antics in China (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

During the press conference immediately after his exit from the tournament, O’Sullivan was caught on camera making a series of inappropriate comments. The comments were made as the questions and his answers were being translated and included: “Suck my d***.” O’Sullivan later claimed he was unaware the cameras were rolling and the microphones were turned on. In response, he was made to forfeit his appearance money and ranking points from the event.