O'Sullivan may never play the Masters again and could miss World Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan would not be disappointed if he never played in the Masters again and suggests he could miss future World Championships when crowds return to the Crucible.

The Rocket withdrew from the Masters this year, saying he simply didn’t want to deal with the media commitments and requests for tickets that come with the London event.

His fans hoped that it was just a year off from the tournament, but the 44-year-old may never return to the event he has won seven times in the past.

Having won his sixth world title in Sheffield this year, with either no crowd or a very limited number of spectators at the Crucible, O’Sullivan is more determined than ever to cut out the stresses of big events on the calender.

This could mean that he never contests another Masters, and he has even hinted that the World Championship could be removed from his diary when fans return.

‘For this year’s World Championships, there was no visitors, no guests, no one at the stage door, I could get in and out of Sheffield and I’ve never felt so relaxed there in my life,’ O’Sullivan told Pete Cohen’s Mi365 Podcast.

‘It wasn’t snooker, it was the stuff that surrounds certain tournaments. That was the reason I didn’t play in the Masters, because it’s a huge circus there.

‘Doing that was stopping me actually enjoying playing and for me it’s all about the playing side of it. So I decided to not play in any tournament that snooker wasn’t the priority.

‘So now, low-key events and the China events, I know the travelling can be quite hard, but once I’m there, my time’s not used up in that way, they allow you to just play snooker. They are the biggest events as well, and I do like China.

‘I won’t play a lot of the events where the circus is around, unless I like the town.

‘So York [UK Championship], I have to accept the circus there because I really love York and it’s a real good holiday for me.

‘London, the Masters is a no-no for me, if I never played in that again I wouldn’t be disappointed.

‘World Championships is a bit like that, unless Covid is still lingering around next year then I’d quite look forward to the peace and quiet in Sheffield that I had this year.

‘I’m a lot happier when I do what I want to do and set my own rules.’

It would certainly be a big surprise if O’Sullivan did not return to Sheffield next year to defend his world title and try to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven triumphs at the Crucible.

While he may prefer the event without a crowd involved, Hendry’s is one of the few records the Rocket has yet to break and he will almost certainly attempt to match it in 2021.

However, having skipped the Masters this year, it may well be that the Alexandra Palace crowd will have to go without O’Sullivan again in future.

The reigning world champion is in action in the English Open on Monday night, in his second event of the season when he takes on Brian Ochoiski in round one in Milton Keynes.

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