“It was so busy and this geezer was a nightmare.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed he had a run-in with a ‘boozed up’ fan as the Rocket secured his place in the second round of the World Championship.
O’Sullivan said he was accosted by a ‘pissed up’ man while he was relaxing in a Sheffield restaurant before securing his 10-4 first-round win over qualifier Mark Joyce.
The six-time world champion has previously called for ‘protection’ from fans, who are allowed to attend World Championship matches at the Crucible thanks as part of a pilot scheme.
Ronnie O’Sullivan produces a 137 clearance to lead Mark Joyce 9-4 in round one, a frame from victory!
The Rocket’s contribution is the highest break of the day, but the tournament high break is held by Mark Davis.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) April 17, 2021
‘He was pissed up and coming at me’ – O’Sullivan.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the people are fine but it’s just the odd one who was a bit boozed up and having a mental one,” said O’Sullivan, who encountered the fan in between the morning and evening sessions of his match with Joyce.
“It was so busy and this geezer was a nightmare. He was pissed up and coming at me and I was like, ‘mate, please.’ What can you do? I’ve got to stay indoors and stay away.
“If I didn’t have to be clean for this tournament it wouldn’t matter, but if I reached the quarter-finals it would be a sickener to have to pull out. As a sportsman I can’t work if I get ill so that’s my only problem.”
Defending champion O’Sullivan led 6-3 after Saturday’s morning session despite failing to fire on all cylinders.
However, the top seed produced some beautiful snooker in the evening session, with breaks of 124, 137 and 112 helping him seal a 10-4 win.
O’Sullivan will face Ricky Walden or Anthony McGill in the second round.
A game of two halves for Ronnie O’Sullivan.
In the first ten frames, Ronnie struggled to find his magic but in his last three frames he burst into the Ronnie we know and love, but it’s a marathon at the Crucible.#ilovesnooker | @WeAreWST pic.twitter.com/C8v3OutWRy
— BETFRED (@Betfred) April 17, 2021
“It was great to have the crowd in there, they miss their snooker and I probably would have given up mentally in that match if there was no crowd there,” added the 45-year-old.
“I’d have thought, I’ll get out of here and go home and do a bit of punditry, but because the crowd are here you feel you’ve got to perform because they’ve paid their money and come out to watch.
“When I think back to my great matches and you see the crowd’s faces and the pleasure that you give them when you play an unbelievable performance, that sticks in your mind that that’s what I’m here to do.”