Such are the terms of his genius, Ronnie O'Sullivan's greatest opponent is often himself. He has spent much of this year in a stand-off with those in charge if snooker.
This kind of direct complaint by O'Sullivan is in contrast to his attitude earlier this year, in which he riled against what he believes is his being constricted by the sport's authorities. O'Sullivan believes he is being treated differently that his fellow players, and says that his fines for breaches of discipline are heavier than those handed out to anyone else.
He pointed out this in a blog for Eurosport. The tipping point for all of this was a letter from World Snooker reprimanding him for criticising a referee and swearing in a post-game interview. The timing of this irked O'Sullivan greatly: it arrived a day before a subsequent tournament, with O'Sullivan saying that the letter has affected his mindset, and has left him without successive victories at five consecutive tournaments.
Railing against what he believes is the limiting of free speech in the sport, O'Sullivan has reponded by refusing to speak about snooker in interviews, reaching a lamentable low in a BBC interview in which he responded to questions by singing Wonderwall.
As abstract as those protests have been, O'Sullivan has directly criticised World Snooker in an interview after his round one victory over Gary Wilson at the World Championships.
Speaking afterward, O'Sullivan revealed details of a recent correspondence with Barry Hearn, in which he accused the snooker bosses of bullying.
I phoned Barry up four weeks ago and I said, ‘Barry, I’m done with all you and your board of people’.
And I’ve got a very good friend of mind who said, ‘Just let my lawyers deal with it’. I won’t get involved with it because I’m not being bullied, I’m not having people doing that to me ever again.
I’m just fortunate I’ve got a very good friend who’s got very good lawyers and they’ve got my back. I just want to play and have fun.
I like Barry, but I’m not being intimidated or bullied any more.
Hopefully, this feud will eventually be worked out, as snooker needs O'Sullivan. He was particularly exuberant in victory against Wilson yesterday:
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker1) April 16, 2017