Snooker: O'Sullivan 'not guaranteed' for 2018 World Championships
PUBLISHED: 17:19 22 November 2017
Ronnie O'Sullivan has fuelled speculation that he won't take part in next year's snooker World Championships.
The five-time Crucible champion has spent the past two years working on other projects, with next year’s competition potentially clashing with filming for a TV show in Australia.
This year saw O’Sullivan starring in a documentary called American Hustle, with the 41-year-old potentially taking a second series Down Under – right at the time he would be playing in Sheffield.
But despite not missing the Championships in his entire career, first appearing in 1993, O’Sullivan is far from bothered about not appearing in the world’s biggest competition.
“If I wasn’t to play in the World Championships, don’t be surprised,” he said after his Dafabet Northern Ireland Open victory against Duane Jones.
“It’s about building good relationships and I don’t need another World Championships or UK Championships or Masters title or anything for that matter.
“I just want to enjoy playing, if my agent and I think it’s worth going somewhere then we’ll go, if not we’ll fill the time with other stuff.
“It’s a toss up whether I do a Hustle or play and I can’t do both. If I do that then I might have to miss the World Championships, so it’s good that I’m doing well currently.
“That’s something away from snooker I can do, I can have fun with that and I’m looking at the balance.
“Seventeen days in Sheffield is okay, so long as you win it.”
The World Championships have not been the only bone of contention in O’Sullivan’s locker, with speculation rife about whether he can win a £1million bonus.
That will come if he wins all four Home Nations series events, with him already victorious in the English Open and now into the last 32 in Belfast.
The latter came after victory over Jones, with O’Sullivan hardly out of second gear in beating his Welsh opponent 4-0.
But if everything was up to the ‘Rocket’, the gossip about his potential seven-figure jackpot would not be on anyone’s lips.
“In some ways I hope I get beat here and I wish people would stop talking about it because it’s getting on my nerves,” he said.
“But if I was to win it, I would put it to good use and feed some people who need feeding. If you’ve got money, I feel you’ve got to put it to good use.”
“I would look to set up a foundation and do some good with it. I’m doing my own foundation for homeless people, especially young people, but I’m doing some bits and pieces already.”
Meanwhile, defending champion Mark King is also through to Thursday’s next round, where Yan Bingtao awaits, but it wasn’t to be for Liang Wenbo, losing to a resurgent Liam Highfield in Belfast.
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