Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has blasted the UK Championship labelling the atmosphere and the tables as ‘shocking’.
This criticism comes on the back of the 39-year-old’s 6-3 victory over Peter Lines last night at the York Barbican Centre.
The former world number one hasn’t won the UK Championship since 2007 and has predicted that there will be upsets in the early phase of the competition this year due to the four table set up.
O'Sullivan, however, saw off Lines with ease after racing into a 3-0 lead early on. Even a late resurgence by his opponent just before the mid-session interval wasn’t enough to throw O’Sullivan off his A-Game as he sealed the match up with a clearance of 33.
Rocket Ronnie told BBC Radio 5 live: “I reckon there's going to be a lot more shocks until they get down to the two-table set-up.
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“It's like asking Roger Federer to go and play on court 13 at Wimbledon in front of three men and a dog.”
Ronnie's comments justified
O’Sullivan’s comments about the tables not being adequate for play was further backed up with the shock second round exit of current world number one and World Champion, Mark Selby at the hands of David Morris who is ranked 63.
“I said at the start of the tournament you're going to see some really weird results this week because you've got four tables and it's not ideal playing conditions.” O’Sullivan said.
He added: “It's really tough out there because you're playing with your back to the crowd so you don't actually feel like you're playing to anybody.”
Table quality needs to improve
The UK Championship is a forecourt for lower ranked players in the game to play against the best in the business but O’Sullivan who understands the need to include amateurs in to tournaments, said that the prestigious tournament is suffering.
“It's going on to the cushions at one mile an hour and coming off at three miles an hour," he added.
"I'm in the second biggest tournament we play in and I'm thinking of not using cushions. Then I got my foot broken and I'm thinking maybe this would be a good time to lose. But your instinct kicks in and you battle on.”
The Englishman who is in recovery from a broken ankle he sustained whilst running has said he may be forced to withdraw from the tournament if the pain barrier started to affect his concentration.