Ronnie O’Sullivan: Snooker is just a hobby and I’d skip World Championship for better offer

The six-time world champion was speaking after winning his first-round match at the Welsh Open

Ronnie O'Sullivan eases past Kyren Wilson to win sixth World Snooker Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan has cast doubt on ambitions for a record-equalling seventh World Championship title, saying snooker is just a hobby to him and he’d happily skip the sport’s most prestigious event if he had a better offer.

O’Sullivan put his shock defeat in the European Masters final to Chinese youngster Fan Zhengyi on Sunday behind him with a comfortable 4-0 win over James Cahill at the Welsh Open - making three half-century breaks to move into the last 64, where he will face Belgian Lukas Kleckers.

But it was his post-match comments that caught the headlines, with the six-time world champion intimating that an alternative offer could see him skip snooker’s showpiece event at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield later this year, rather than trying to equal Stephen Hendry’s modern-day record of seven World Championship titles.

“No matter what you do it’s just a business and I just look at what’s best for me,” O’Sullivan told BBC Wales.

“If somebody rang me up next week and said: ‘look we’ve got a great job for you, it clashes with the World Championship, but it’s a better offer,’ I’d go.

“At the moment I play when I want, don’t play when I don’t want to play, and it’s great.

“It’s more of a hobby, but a serious hobby. I just make a decision on each tournament and each proposal.”

I’m just all about business now and that’s how it’s been the last seven or eight years

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Last week during his run to the final in Milton Keynes, O’Sullivan spoke of suffering “snooker depression” for a couple of hours following matches.

The 46-year-old maintained he would “100 per cent” swerve another trip to the Crucible if he felt another opportunity was right.

“I’m just all about business now and that’s how it’s been the last seven or eight years,” O’Sullivan said.

“No matter what it is, I look at it as a proposal. Is it something I want to do? And make a decision on it.

Ronnie O’Sullivan says he would skip the Snooker World Championship for a better offer

“My time is very, very valuable and I want to feel valued for my time.

“So as long as I’m feeling valued in what I’m doing and I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time, then I’d be anywhere, I don’t really care.”

Elsewhere during Tuesday’s early matches at Celtic Manor, home favourite Mark Williams was edged out 4-3 by Norwegian Kurt Maflin while Australian Neil Robertson made two century breaks as he coasted past Hammad Miah 4-1.

There were also first-round victories for China’s Ding Junhui, Joe Perry, Scott Donaldson and Ali Carter, who chalked up a 4-1 win over Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee, the first woman to compete in the event.

In Tuesday’s evening session, world number three Judd Trump scored a break of 120 in the final frame of his convincing 4-1 win over Craig Steadman to reach the last 32.

Judd Trump produced another composed display at Celtic Manor

Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen ended the hopes of Ukrainian teenager Iulian Boiko with a comfortable 4-0 victory, and Fergal O’Brien edged out Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-3 on the final black.

Five-time winner John Higgins hit a couple of centuries as he progressed 4-0 against Iran veteran Soheil Vahedi, with Matthew Selt and Jack Lisowski also coming through their late matches.

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