Snooker

'It's Paid Practice For Me': Ronnie O'Sullivan Beats Boredom To Win In Belfast

'It's Paid Practice For Me': Ronnie O'Sullivan Beats Boredom To Win In Belfast

Ronnie O'Sullivan says he was "bored" and didn't care about the result during his first round win over Andy Hicks at the Northern Ireland Open.

Despite winning 4-1, the Rocket said afterwards that he didn't enjoy the atmosphere in Belfast and struggled to get motivated for the game.

"I kind of struggled with the table and I struggled with the atmosphere. There was really no atmosphere out there. I'm playing alright, so normally I can generate the atmosphere but, I don't know. It felt like years ago, every time we played a tournament, every match felt like a big night - like a Champions League night - whereas out there, it was poor. It was hard," O'Sullivan told Eurosport.

"I don't know, you've got all these games going on, you've got people walking about, you know, I struggled. It's the atmosphere. These flat draws, you've just got to hope you get through to the quarters and click into a spark. It was very flat out there. I was very bored out there. I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. I was thinking, 'please, just don't let this go long, two or three hours'. I was really not enjoying the atmosphere and wasn't really bothered if I won or lost to be honest. That's not a good attitude to have, so I tried to talk myself out of it, but it is what it is, you know.

O'Sullivan is admired for his honesty, but he can sometimes come off as condescending to his opponents. Last year, O'Sullivan got himself in hot water for calling out the quality of opposition in pro snooker.

He said:

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"People like me, John Higgins and Mark Williams, if you look at the younger players coming through, they are not that good really. Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, not even amateurs. They are so bad.

"A lot of them you see now, you look at them and think, 'I would have to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50'. That is why we are still hovering around, because of how poor it is down that end."

Ronnie O'Sullivan will take on Alfie Burden - who defeated Yuan Sijun 4-2 - in the second round in Belfast and is hoping that the atmosphere improves as the week progresses. However, despite his grievances, O'Sullivan was remaining philosophical when it came to the tournament, even looking at it as getting paid to practice in a worse case scenario.

"Hopefully the atmosphere is a little bit better than it was tonight. Yeah, listen, it is what it is. It's paid practice for me. I come here and hit a few balls. It's all a bit of a bonus so I'm not really too bothered either way really," O'Sullivan added.

SEE MORE: O'Sullivan Dumbfounded By Ref Call At Championship League Snooker

ronnie o'sullivan

Daniel Hussey

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