|2018 World Championship|
|Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 21 April – 7 May|
|Coverage: Watch live across BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.|
Ronnie O’Sullivan says his World Championship clash with Ali Carter was “nothing” – and blamed the media for trying to make a story out of it.
O’Sullivan, 42, barged into his fellow Englishman’s shoulder during the 19th frame of a surprise 13-9 second-round defeat at the Crucible.
The five-time world champion later compared himself to golfer Tiger Woods and tennis legend Roger Federer.
“Until I die, you will have to keep writing stuff (about me),” he said.
The world number two came into the tournament, for which he was the bookmakers’ favourite, having won a record-equalling five ranking events this season.
But he failed to produce his best against both Carter and first-round opponent Stephen Maguire.
O’Sullivan, who has won 33 ranking titles – second only to Stephen Hendry’s record of 36, suggested the hype follows him in snooker and he can do nothing about it.
“You write the column inches and if you ring the editor and say Ronnie is a story, then it gets printed,” he said.
“If it is not, then you get a smaller column. I am not writing the headlines, I see where they are coming from but every sport has their Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. I happen to be the figure in snooker.
“I am not saying I win as much as them or have the records and I did not ask for that situation. I try to carry it the best I can.
“I am not an egotistical person. I did not sign up for that but over 25 years I have had some great play, an interesting life and people have been intrigued by it. You have helped to carry that story all the way through.
“Until I die, you will have to keep writing stuff. You cannot say: ‘We have had 25 years of Ronnie, can we push him aside?'”
How the exchange happened
O’Sullivan was making his way back to his seat in the 19th frame, when he shoved into Carter. O’Sullivan was visibly annoyed and, with Carter waiting to take his shot, the following exchange took place:
O’Sullivan: “That’s for being Mr Angry.”
O’Sullivan: “Thought I would give you one back. It’s all right Ali, take your go.”
Carter: “Thank you very much. That’s nice of you.”
O’Sullivan: “Stop being angry then.”
At this point, referee Paul Collier intervened and told the players to carry on playing.
O’Sullivan continued by saying: “I’m cool. I’m as cool as a cucumber.”
The 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor said on commentary he had “never ever seen that in 40 years at the Crucible Theatre”. Co-commentator and seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry added: “Told you there was an edge to this match.”
‘I won’t be bullied by anyone’
After the match, O’Sullivan said he had been barged into by Carter earlier in the match, and added: “We all get angry sometimes.
“If someone is going to shoulder barge into me, what do I do? Keep walking around tip-toeing and do a curtsy as though he is the king? Sometimes you have to stand your ground. I am not a limbo dancer.
“You have to get it into perspective. You are sitting here and trying to make something out of nothing. I won’t buy into that.
“I am a free guy, we live in a politically correct country and sometimes we go a little bit over the top, but other times things are ignored which should not be. They should be highlighted.
“You want to highlight something like this. I would rather choose to highlight something that is really important like young children being bombed to death every day. Think of Syria, think of the terrible things going on in the world at the moment and we are sitting talking about a shoulder barge.”
Carter added: “It was heat of the moment and he will do anything he can to win and so will I. He barged me but sorry, I am not going to be bullied by anyone.
“I have been through a lot in my life and I have been through a lot harder things than a shoulder barge from someone.”
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