Judd Trump once eviscerated ‘selfish’ Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘Trying to get headlines!’

English Open: Judd Trump defeats Heathcote in first round

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Trump drew level with Stuart Bingham at 8-8 in the second session of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible this afternoon. This evening the pair will play to a conclusion at 7pm, with the winner facing Yan Bingtao or Mark Williams in the last four. Elsewhere, six-time champion O’Sullivan eased into the semi-finals of the competition with a comfortable 13-5 win over Stephen Maguire. 

In reaching his 13th Crucible semi-final the world No 1, who is widely considered one of the greatest snooker players of all time, bettered Stephen Hendy’s record World Championship semi-final tally of 12. 

Trump, who is the tournament’s 2019 champion, could meet O’Sullivan in a Crucible final, if both players get through their respective semis.

While there is a lot of respect between the pair, two years ago Trump hit out at O’Sullivan on the eve of the 2020 World Championships.

At the time, O’Sullivan said stars were being treated like “lab rats” after spectators were being allowed into the World Championships just months after the UK had come out of lockdown. 

Read More: Ronnie O’Sullivan in bizarre World Championship moment vs Maguire

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This led to the asthmatic Anthony Hamilton withdrawing from the competition altogether for medical reasons.

However, in a bitter outburst Trump said that O’Sullivan should have also sat out the event, as he had previously threatened, if he was not comfortable with crowds returning. 

According to the Mail Online, Trump said: “Everybody had the choice.

“Of all people, Ronnie is probably the only one who doesn’t need the money so I find it quite hard that he can enter it and have a go at what is going on. 

“Just pull out and let someone else have a go.

“I have been around the game long enough to know that if there is a World Championship coming up, he is going to try and get the headlines.

“But for him to say he wasn’t going to play if there was a crowd, then change his mind, then slate it, just give someone else the opportunity if it doesn’t mean enough to you.

“I think it’s just a bit selfish.”

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Hamilton pulled out having qualified for the tournament for the first time in 12 years. 

He later said the “ridiculous” decision to let fans in could lead to a person dying “for no reason at all”. 

However, Hamilton was able to keep his £20,000 prize money for making the tournament, while his first round opponent Kyren Wilson had a bye into the last-16.

Trump slammed the 11th-hour withdrawal, adding: “There is a lot of money to be played for in this tournament.

“A lot of the low-ranked players struggle to put food on the table.”

Despite Trump’s past criticism of O’Sullivan, he labelled the snooker sensation, who has a record 38 ranking titles, as his sporting icon.

In a February interview with Eurosport, Trump recalled meeting O’Sullivan at the Welsh Open as a child. 

He said: “I can remember meeting Ronnie when I was really young in the Welsh Open. 

“My dad took me there, he finished work and surprised me and that was when I was about seven or eight. 

“That was my first real good snooker memory.”

When asked who his sporting icon was growing up, he added: “In snooker growing up it was Ronnie, I think in golf it was Tiger Woods, in boxing it was Floyd Mayweather. 

“They are the stand-out people of their generation.”

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