Iranian Hossein Vafaei has responded to Ronnie O'Sullivan's comments, which were made by the snooker superstar after his first round win over Pan Junxu at the World Snooker Championship.
O'Sullivan was asked about the possibility of facing Vafaei in the second round - which is now a reality after Vafaei's win over Ding Junhui - in reference to last year's anti-O'Sullivan rant from Vafaei, where he said that O'Sullivan should retire after what he felt were disrespectful comments about the sport and its younger players.
In response to this, O'Sullivan said, "I think he’s learned to be quiet. Don’t rattle my cage. I love it when they call me out, I love it when they give me stick. I just love it."
After his win over Ding, Vafaei gave his thoughts on the prospects of facing snooker's GOAT:
I have to play like, I have to show a performance like that, like I can play. To show the people and shut some people's mouths, to show them what I can do.
This is just the beginning, my best hasn't come out yet. If my best comes out, if my A game comes out, I'm definitely going to do some damage.
He was then asked which player needs their mouth shut.
Ronnie O'Sullivan. I was quiet, I was respecting, and a lot of people were sending me some interview or something like that.
And it is what it is, he's such a nice person when he's asleep.
Ronnie O'Sullivan And Hossein Vafaei Have Beef
"He's such a nice person... when he's asleep." 😳
Hossein Vafaei called out Ronnie O'Sullivan after his first round win...
They face off in the last 16 🌶@WeAreWST | #CazooWorldChampionship pic.twitter.com/9MCozDkH0z
— Eurosport (@eurosport) April 17, 2023
READ HERE: Ronnie O'Sullivan Has Verbals With The Ref And Produces Masterful Play In An Incredible Session Of Snooker
"What did he say about me? I can’t remember," O'Sullivan said after his first round win.
"Has he been saying much about me this year? I think he’s learned to be quiet.
"Don’t rattle my cage. I love it when they call me out, I love it when they give me stick. I just love it.
"It turns me on. I get off on it. I need something to find so I’m hoping someone says something and hopefully I get better so I can have a reason to perform.
"They are not going to say anything now are they, because they probably realised it’s not a good tactic to play. We’ll see, but we’ll have some fun."