At York last month, we saw the worst of Ronnie O'Sullivan.

His walkout against Stephen Hendry was one of the lowest moments of his career and he himself admitted yesterday that he was 'disgusted' by it.

Last night, we saw the best of him, not only on the table but in his general conduct during the Saga Insurance Masters final.

He played superbly in beating Ding Jun Hui 10-3 and made the game look ridiculously easy. More than that, though, he displayed great compassion and professionalism when Ding himself imploded.

First, to clear up a misconception: there is no evidence of racist abuse. I understand that there was one spectator in particular who did shout out to Ding but that he was Chinese, so exactly what was said isn't clear.

Whatever you've read elsewhere, there's no doubt that Ding tried to concede the match trailing 9-3.

He was walking out of the arena at the time. Had he thought the match was best of 17, surely he would have remained for the trophy presentation.

He is only 19 and the occasion got to him, not least because of how well O'Sullivan was playing.

That is why it was so heartwarming - if not a little ironic - to see Ronnie put his arm around Ding, talk him round and do his best to look after him in the conclusion to the final, even asking photographers not to take pictures of the young Chinese in tears.

O'Sullivan can be so charming at times that it almost negates all the controversial stuff.

Regardless, his conduct last night deserves recognition.


Anonymous said...

Get out the OBE and shine up an MBE-- Ronnie deserves it more than any other snooker player I've seen for his compassion toward young Ding when the latter was obviously distraught. I've rarely seen a player worthy of more commendation.

Anonymous said...


It goes without saying that World Snooker's PR company is infact Ronnie O'Sullivan PR!

Regardless of what happened in York and, the 'no comment' meetings with his advisor and Rodney Walker, O'Sullivan had a volte-face and decided to talk to the media not once, as on Saturday, but twice, after the final as well.

Sunday will only hold O'Sullivan in good stead if he continues his impeccable character in Malta and onwards. I take it Ronnie is going this time.

On another note, O'Sullivan was fantastic from 0-2 down. The only memories of him being in that kind of form and winning/losing were; the final of the British Open in 97 v Williams, the semi-final world championship against Ebdon in 1996 and Hendry in 1999/2004.

Long may it continue, the sport needs O'Sullivan.

For the first time ever on Sunday, I saw a young man, Ding, truly rattled. He was chocking literally. The worrying moments were indeed as you say, the concession at 9-3, and the almost O'Sullivan/Hannesque hit the ball without getting down. Of course he will learn and be stronger. I just hope his character isn't affected by this.

I also hear that World Snooker are taking no action against the 'fan' who made certain comments towards Ding during the match, even though he was ejected from the building.

Wembley is always noisy, but the difference between the C.Centre and the Arena are that the seats are a lot closer, which results in stupid comments being heard.

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

He was only thrown out at the very end, which kind of defeats the purpose.

I think the main problem is that fans are allowed to take alcohol into the arena. To my knowledge, this doesn't happen anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Was it the same person that O'Sullivan was exchanging views with in the second session? He seemed to get animated and gesticulated wildly at somebody in the audience who made a reference to O'Sullivan about his walk out in York.

I suppose because it is a pop venue - which charge highly inflated drink prices - they let you take it wherever you like. But a ban should have been enforced for the Masters.

Thanks, Joe