Ronnie O’Sullivan withdraws from Champion of Champions on eve of title defence
The Rocket will not defend his title in Bolton.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will not be defending his Champion of Champions title in Bolton this week, withdrawing from the event the day before he was due to play.
The Rocket confirmed that he will not play as scheduled on Wednesday, saying: ‘I want to look after my mental health and my body.’
O’Sullivan was due to play Zhang Anda in his opening contest on Wednesday, with the winner taking o neither John Higgins or Chris Wakelin for a place in the semi-finals.
The world number one posted on X on Tuesday morning: ‘Hi guys, just wanted to let you know I’m unfortunately withdrawing from the Champions of Champions event tomorrow.
‘Mentally I feel a bit drained and stressed and I want to look after my mental health and my body. I’m sorry to all the fans but I’ll be back stronger.’
He told the Daily Record: ‘I can’t do backwards and forwards, tournament after tournament
‘You have to choose your battles. There is a lot of travelling involved. My mental health is very, very important to me. My doctor is always monitoring me. I don’t want to get burned out. I don’t want to end up cracking up with mental exhaustion or mental stress.
‘I have to be very careful with picking and choosing my events now.’
The 47-year-old was playing at the International Championship in Tianjin, China last week, reaching the semi-finals where he was beaten by Zhang on Saturday.
He returned to the UK on Monday evening with some uncertainty on whether he would play in Bolton or not, but he has decided to take the week off to recover from a hectic schedule.
O’Sullivan’s manager, Jason Francis, posted on X: ‘Mental health is much more important than a game of snooker. You can only squeeze the fruit so much and the juice dries up… care not criticism required.’
Tournament organisers Matchroom confirmed that Ding Junhui is first choice to replace O’Sullivan but are yet to announce whether the Chinese star is actually available to play on Wednesday.
Matchroom also stated that any sanctions for late withdrawal would be a matter for the WPBSA.
O’Sullivan will next be in action at the UK Championship in York later this month, but first he will be launching his documentary ‘Ronnie O’Sullivan: Edge of Everything’ next week, released in cinemas on 21 November before landing on Prime Video two days later.
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