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'Rocket' Ronnie relieved to progress at World Championships

21 April 2017, 07:26 | Joan Schultz

"And I've got a very good friend of mine who said, "Just let my lawyers deal with it".

Selby now has some precious time to himself before his second-round match and the 33-year-old from Leicester added: "I'll get on the practice table over the next few days and go and then go and watch Leicester (in the Champions League) on Tuesday night against Atletico Madrid - hopefully they can get through".

But there was no denying five-time champion O'Sullivan, who last won the world title four years ago and punched the air in delight at getting across the line.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has denied Ronnie O'Sullivan's claims of bullying and intimidation, insisting comments from the five-times world champion are "unfounded" and "inaccurate". "He's inspired hundreds of thousands of Chinese snooker players and brought the game into the living rooms of the entire population".

"Mark is world No.1 and the reigning world champion - it's now his time and he's been making the most of that", said O'Sullivan, who last won the World Championship in 2013 and lost to Selby in the 2014 final. The 41-year-old has of late been giving one word answers at press conferences and even started singing Oasis hit "Wonderwall" in response to a BBC journalist's question.

And though they have been withdrawn O'Sullivan claims he was "bullied" and "intimidated" by snooker chiefs and made a decision to get the lawyers involved.

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"The fans have supported me for 25 years, they will continue to support me so I feel loyalty towards them and they are the most important people in my career".

"He has a great attitude towards the game, he's a hard worker who keeps his feet on the ground, and I think he's driven by the fear of losing". "But I think with those three, if they get on a roll and get in a zone they're unplayable".

Selby was disappointed he too had not managed a similar feat, saying: "I was gutted not to come out 9-0 after the first session, knowing there'd only been one whitewash here and it'd be nice to get another one".

"Obviously when it got to 6-0, 7-0 I wasn't so comfortable, dreading I was going to have the bagel after my name, but winning that first frame was quite enjoyable because the crowd were willing me not to be whitewashed".

"Did I overplay shots, did I double-check stuff?"



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