Ronnie O’Sullivan has brushed off Shaun Murphy’s blistering criticism after the world No.13 accused him of being a poor ambassador for snooker in a scathing rant. Murphy has been angered by O’Sullivan’s apparent ambivalence towards the sport that has made him a multi-millionaire, despite still being considered a genius and the man to beat.
Murphy is mixing his playing duties with the BBC’s punditry team at this year’s UK Championship, and appeared irked by O’Sullivan’s lack of enthusiasm in the studio after he had beaten Matthew Stevens in the first round. The ‘Magician’ was left frustrated after world no.1 O’Sullivan claimed his achievements in snooker were a mere ‘bonus’ and carried little significance in his life.
“If you don’t like it as much as you say you don’t, why do you keep coming?” Murphy interjected and asked O’Sullivan during the post-match interciew. The Rocket replied: “I think I’d get bored”.
Murphy then doubled down on his exasperation with O’Sullivan after his own victory over Dave Gilbert, clearly riled by the seven-time world champion’s comments. The 40-year-old slammed O’Sullivan’s attitude as ‘extremely irritating’.
“It is very frustrating hearing Ronnie and others say it’s just one of the things they do with their life… and that the game means so little to them,” Murphy said. “For players like myself…I don’t have the CV of O’Sullivan, I don’t have what I assume must be an incredible amount of wealth.
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And the unfazed Rocket simply dismissed Murphy’s comments, claiming he ‘vacated a long time ago’. “See that water just rolling off my back?” O’Sullivan said. “I won’t be replying. I don’t read newspapers, I’m not interested in what anybody’s got to say about me. Absolutely vacated a long time ago.”
He continued: “If people want to choose to come and watch me play then great, if they don’t want to choose to come and watch me play then that’s also great. Better that they come and watch you I suppose, then not coming to watch you.”