Ronnie O’Sullivan would advise his kids not to play snooker.
Asked by presenter Casey whether O’Sullivan thought there was enough support and opportunity for young English players to excel, the Rocket said:
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“Obviously not and I think that is down to the snooker association (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) to fund that and make facilities available,” said the 46-year-old.
If I had a son I would not let him play snooker so maybe there is a good thing there isn’t the opportunity for him to play snooker.
“I’d rather he played golf, football, tennis. I’d rather he played curling, I’m only joking! Personally if I had a child [that wanted to take up snooker] I would not want him to play snooker I really wouldn’t.”
When it was pointed out to him that that may surprise some. O’Sullivan responded:
“I’m an honest guy, I’m going to give you an honest opinion. I’m not going to tell you the reasons why but if I had a child or a son – which I have – I would definitely say ‘don’t choose snooker’. Maybe 20-25 years ago it was a sexy sport but it has kind of fallen behind to other sports.
“If you have a child you’d want them to get into a sport like Emma Raducanu [has], she’s doing fantastic. You look at the golfers like Rory McIlroy and the footballers, it’s just lovely sports to be in.
It’s just timing I suppose. Maybe in another 20-30 years snooker might be back on top but at the moment I’d be like ‘go and get a job mate’. Forget playing snooker. That’s my honest opinion.
O’Sullivan would then detail some of the financial impediments that can impact the lower-ranked players before adding a potential remedy.
“I’m talking about the guys that are ranked 60, 70 in the world that are struggling. It’s not good for them. If you compared the 125th golfer and what he earns and the 125th snooker player then he’d make a million dollars on the golf tour. You can afford to miss a few cuts because you can make enough money to offset the losses you might make.
“One way you could maybe remedy it is at least give the first-round losers their expenses. A lot of these guys have not got the money: they come and get beat like Michael Georgiou. He has been pumped twice now. He’s lost to me twice now 4-0, 4-0 and he has to pay his own expenses and it has cost him £300-£400. It’s unfair.
“Take it off the top. Winners don’t really need that extra money, give it to the first round losers so at least it doesn’t cost them anything. Then you can call it a job.”
O’Sullivan will face Liang Wenbo in the next round.
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