RONNIE O’SULLIVAN has compared playing every snooker event at Milton Keynes to being locked up in prison.
The Rocket reached the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open to set up a repeat of his ill-tempered ‘Barge-Gate’ 2018 Crucible clash with Ali Carter.
But afterwards reigning and six-time world champion O’Sullivan, 44, spoke in stark terms about the experience of routine and coronavirus protocols with a hotel on site.
World No2 O’Sullivan used to regularly visit father Ronnie Sr while he was in prison for 18 years for murder.
O’Sullivan said: “This is like prison – an open prison.
“I used to go and visit my dad quite a lot and I watch players who are here now who aren’t playing until next week.
“They have their little bit of food and going up to their room and it’s lonely, it’s horrible.
“It’s like you could go out and get a little job in a charity shop and that’s your privileges.
“Otherwise you are in here hitting a few balls and having a chat with the lads.
“And then in the proper bubble style it’s like an A category prison.
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“A lot of the players are doing this prison for a year or even two years, but I try to go home.”
O’Sullivan, who beat Ding Junhui 5-2 yesterday, lost a fiery second-round World Championship battle 13-9 two years ago to Carter that saw referee Paul Collier having to tell both players to cool it.
In verbal exchanges O’Sullivan called Carter ‘Mr Angry’ after barging into him while walking in a narrow space back to his seat as his opponent was coming to the table.
O’Sullivan – fresh from fart-gate – said: “There is a bit more room out there than at the Crucible.”
Carter, chasing a fifth ranking title and a first for four years, said: “We spoke about the incident afterwards.
“Ronnie came up to apologise to me…twice.
“At the UK Championship the December after he said ‘Look, sorry about that’.
“It got a lot of people talking and some spotlight on snooker and the tournament.
“We have some history, we’re both from Essex and he’s beaten me in two world finals.
“We are on speaking terms… I said hello to him earlier as he passed me on his electric scooter today. I could barge him off it.”
World No1 Judd Trump will play Leeds’ David Grace in the other semi-final.
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