Ronnie O’Sullivan slams Shaun Murphy for whining about amateurs as Robertson loses UK Championship crown to part-timer
RONNIE O’SULLIVAN told Shaun Murphy to stop whinging about amateurs – as Neil Robertson surrendered his UK Championship crown to a part-timer.
Ireland-based Murphy fumed when he lost 6-5 to Chinese part-timer Si Jiahui, 19, in the 128-player UK Championship first round.
The 2005 world champion accepted he sounded like a ‘grumpy old man’ when he claimed the teen ‘shouldn’t even be in the building’.
The Magician’s stance amateurs should not play in professional events was backed by Robertson, world No 1 Mark Selby and three-time Crucible champion Mark Williams — but quickly shot down by World Snooker.
Yet O’Sullivan says Murphy should get used to facing amateurs in the coming years as the situation will not change.
O’Sullivan, 45, laughed: “Honestly, I hope it gets worse for them. This has only started. They better start looking for a job if they don’t like it.
“That’s what I’m saying to Murphy, ‘Go get a job. Do something else. Play snooker for fun. You’ll have loads more of that. Just get your head round it — you have choices’.
“I hope Shaun gets over it. He has just got to get on with it.
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“You’ll never hear me talk like that. Snooker is a hobby. When it means something to you, it can hurt.
“For me, I can drive my car wherever I want and I like the direction it is going.”
O’Sullivan beat Welsh amateur Michael White 6-3 in the first round at York’s Barbican and faces Robbie Williams in the last 64.
The Essex potter famously lost to amateur James Cahill in the 2019 World Championship first round.
O’Sullivan added: “Maybe ten years ago, I made a real conscious effort to play for fun and enjoy it. Play it for a hobby.
“It’s all right playing as a hobby but if I had to play for my living, I’d be like Shaun Murphy — in bits.
“I don’t care who I play. I’ll play amateurs, women, referees, I’ll play anything, I don’t care. When I go out there I feel like the amateur.”
Reacting to O’Sullivan’s comments, Murphy, 39, said: “Ronnie has been making headlines all his career and has threatened to quit the game more times than anyone else I know.
“I’ve always taken what he says with a pinch of salt.
“I’d say to Ronnie, no one has done more about the amateur game than me.
“I’ve always tried to promote it as best as I possibly can. I don’t think they should compete in professional tournaments.”
Defending champion Robertson went on TV and radio to back Murphy but his support backfired as he was beaten 6-2 by John J. Astley.
Astley, who potted a 119 in the penultimate frame, appeared in a stage play at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre five years ago but does coaching while trying to regain his place back on the Tour.
The Gateshead potter, 32, said: “I can see a little bit of irony. Maybe the stars were aligned.
“I prepared the best I could. I had a lot of support. Only a handful of people believed I could win. I could hear my dad and brother shouting from the balcony.
“It’s all opinions. Shaun is entitled to his. I don’t think there should be byes in big tournaments.
“I used my experience of the Tour from recent years. I’m different myself to a total amateur.”
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