“I’m not fine with people coming close to me, I’m just really not, and I would kick off.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan wants to be protected from fans at the upcoming World Snooker Championships and says he will “kick off” if it’s not done.
O’Sullivan’s world title defence got underway early on Saturday as he took on Mark Joyce. He leads 6-3 in the first round as 213 fans were allowed into the Crucible.
Ronnie O’Sullivan fans.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, O’Sullivan insisted he was not fine with people coming close to him due to Covid concerns and said he would “kick off” if any fan attempted to do it over the next couple of weeks.
“I’m not fine with people coming close to me, I’m just really not, and I would kick off,” O’Sullivan told Sporting Life.
“You get these crazy fans and people putting those autograph (books) in front of you and coming and wanting a selfie. And if I don’t get a level of protection or feel safe in Sheffield, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable being there to be honest.
“I don’t mind the crowds, that’s fine, what I still will make sure I get is that level of protection and people still staying two metres away.
“I’m not comfortable going from a really cautious environment to an environment where I don’t feel like you’re protected or safe from other people who don’t respect this illness.
“I’m relying on the goodwill of other people and obviously World Snooker to make sure there’s no massive crowds gathering outside the Crucible, or outside the hotel, or when you’re walking from the hotel to the Crucible.
“You need to have a level of security there, just in case. I don’t want to have to start getting into disagreements with someone who doesn’t believe in Covid and wants a selfie.
“All of a sudden you’re getting into a fight with someone that could be drunk and doesn’t really care. All their judgements go out of the window.”
The 45-year-old revealed he doesn’t even let his own children get close to him, asking them to wear a mask when travelling in the same car.
“Since March last year, up until now, I’ve chosen to not get close to anybody, even my own children. I make them sit in the back of the car, undo the window, wear a mask,” O’Sullivan continued.
“And if they don’t want to do that, they don’t get in the car, it’s as simple as that. I’m totally distanced from my children because they live with their mum and I don’t know where they’ve been.
“They’re a bit anti it all, they think it’s all a bit of a conspiracy. I don’t happen to think that because my mum got ill with it.”
The six-time world champion’s mother had her own battle with Covid so he wants to be ultra-careful despite restrictions gradually easing in the UK over the coming months.
“I’ve obviously got a mum that’s got half a lung, she has had Covid. She kind of doesn’t rely on me 100 per cent, but she did while she had it, because I was the only person who could go in her house, make sure she was alright, make sure she was still breathing,” O’Sullivan added.
“She was on a ventilator in the house, on antibiotics, I really didn’t know if she was going to come through. I have to be in that situation, so then I think I can’t put her at risk either.
“Because the lockdown is going to change on May 17, or June 22, that doesn’t mean I take it as a sign that I can go out to a busy restaurant, go up to London, go out raving.
“I’m not going to do that for at least two or three years, until we understand the illness and how it operates and how it moves. None of us know all that.”