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Ronnie O’Sullivan says empty Crucible is like a morgue and worse than Crawley


Ronnie O’Sullivan is thinking of Crawley again (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan says this year’s World Snooker Championship at an empty Crucible is like playing in a morgue and he would rather turn out at the much-maligned K2 Centre in Crawley, as long as fans were there.

The Rocket is into the last eight in Sheffield after beating Ding Junhui 13-10 on Sunday night in impressive fashion.

The five-time world champion has said how he prefers no fans being in the arena, thanks to COVID-19 regulations, but says there are significant negatives as well.

While not having his legion of fans in attendance makes it easier for the snooker icon to go about his business in Sheffield, it certainly takes away from the atmosphere during a match.

So much so, that Ronnie would rather go back to Crawley, the venue for the English Open which he has criticised for its smell, hygiene levels and general set-up in the past.

‘It’s better with the fans, of course it is, it’s like playing in a morgue out there,’ said O’Sullivan of the empty Crucible. ‘I’ve got one friend sitting up in the balcony.

‘It’s better with the fans but it would be great to have the fans and be able to get in and out the venue, it feels a bit like a village feel at the moment which is good because the players are more relaxed.

‘I suppose if you’re one of the players that are not so well known it doesn’t make much difference, but for the top players it can be a nightmare.

‘It puts you off coming to this tournament, I’d rather go and play in Crawley, that’s how bad it is.’

Considering Ronnie once said, ‘every day in Crawley is a day lost in my life,’ that makes the situation in Sheffield pretty bad, in his eyes.

The 44-year-old described how chaotic his life can be during a tournament normally, with fans mobbing him whenever he is out and about, whereas this year he doesn’t have to deal with that.

‘It’s so much easier getting in and out the venue, I can get to the venue nice and relaxed, walk out, it’s so different,’ he said.

O’Sullivan can’t decide if he wants the fans there or not (Picture: Getty Images)

‘For me, that’s why I don’t like this tournament because it’s such a headache just getting in and out the venue.

‘For however long you’re here I’m spending most of my time running away from people, trying to escape it all. All you want to do is come and play snooker and be protected a little bit, but it’s just not like that here, it’s really tough.

‘Obviously this year with the COVID situation it’s allowed people to get on with their job and focus on that and not have to play hide and seek.’

The Rocket takes on Mark Williams in the quarter-finals, starting on Monday.

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan on facing Mark Williams: ‘He’s all done and dusted, shouldn’t even be here’

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan slams young talent in snooker: ‘I’d have to lose an arm and a leg to drop out of the top 50’

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