Ronnie O’Sullivan has threatened to walk away from snooker if he is prevented from playing lucrative exhibition events in China.
The seven-time world champion, who also hit out at the standard at the top level of the game, wants to maximise his earnings but is contracted to play in a certain number of World Snooker Tour events which hamper his ability to travel to the Far East.
He told the BBC: “If I can’t go and do what I need to do, which is play a lot in China, I won’t ever play again. So, we’re at a kind of crossroads now.
“If that gets to the point where I’m not able to do that, I’m not allowed to do that, I probably won’t play. I’ll probably go and play Chinese 8-Ball because I still want to play snooker, I still want a cue in my hand.
“There’s just not enough here in the UK for me to justify the effort that I put in. If someone’s going to respect me and value me more, why would I not go there? It’s like being in an unhealthy relationship with someone, why would you be in that?”
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O’Sullivan is a regular critic of the standard in world snooker and says he finds it “revolting” that so many players settle for “mediocrity”.
He added: “I don’t think it’s very hard to be a top-16 snooker player. I could probably get away with playing once a week for two or three hours a day.
“I’m not a great lover for mediocrity, I find it quite revolting in some ways, when I see people accepting that. That’s why I don’t hang around snooker people at venues because I just don’t like seeing it.
“I don’t think there’s enough good matches. I think there’s a lot of players that people don’t know, that don’t play the game in the right way.”