Ronnie O’Sullivan warned of ‘crazy’ Boris Johnson before UK snub

BBC TV licence fee is 'doomed' says O'Sullivan

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The snooker legend remains the sport’s most successful player after winning more titles than anyone else, and amassing a staggering £11.8million fortune. But O’Sullivan’s legacy came into question on Friday after he was defeated by Anthony McGill in the World Snooker Championship. Aside from his sporting achievements, the 45-year-old is well known for courting controversy with his frank opinions. 

Last year, O’Sullivan caused a stir after claiming Prince Harry had “done a runner” while discussing the impact of being in the public eye. 

He told Eurosport that he empathized with the Sussexes after their decision to step down from their senior roles within the Royal Family. 

The snooker ace claimed to understand why Harry did not want to be in the spotlight and admitted “he had been trying to do that” for all of his life.

O’Sullivan said he tried “to keep as much privacy” as he could – in a comment that echoed previous statements from the Sussexes.

That same year, the star also weighed in on how Mr Johnson had responded to the pandemic. 

He told the Daily Mirror that Chinese players he had spoken to did “not feel safe” in the UK because of the leader’s actions. 

O’Sullivan claimed a lot of those sports stars were “itching to go back” to China, where tighter restrictions were in place.

At the time of his comments in March, Mr Johnson had advised the public to avoid social gatherings but the first lockdown was yet to be enforced.

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The nation was told to socially distance from other people – but in China, which had its first case in late 2019, measures were considerably stricter. 

The snooker star acknowledged President Xi Jinping’s state was “the first to have dealt with” coronavirus. 

From conversations with Chinese friends who had “gone back” to their home nation, O’Sullivan was warned Mr Johnson’s actions might not be enough.

He recalled one discussion about the pandemic with a Chinese friend, who gave a damning review of Mr Johnson’s efforts. 

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O’Sullivan was told: “Your Prime Minister doesn’t know what he is doing, he is crazy.”

He admitted he didn’t know what to make of their claims.

The star added: “I can’t really comment but this is what I am hearing.”

O’Sullivan claimed some of the Chinese friends had gone and others were “desperate to” leave because they had “all got a bit scared”.

He believed they fled because they would “feel safe” in China and thought Beijing was “doing what it should” to combat the pandemic.

Current statistics show that 127,000 people in the UK have died from coronavirus and 3.14 million worldwide.

Following O’Sullivan’s exit from the World Snooker Championship, he told BBC Sport that “the snooker gods did the right thing”.

He admitted he would have been “a bit sore” if he “lost to anybody else” and felt McGill deserved the victory. 

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O’Sullivan said: “I have to lick my wounds and come back again.”

The snooker star is a six-time world champion and is currently ranked second.

He recently predicted Judd Trump, the current world number one, could win “maybe five” World Snooker Championships during an interview with Eurosport. 

O’Sullivan’s beliefs stem from the claim that “there isn’t anyone to really rival him”.

Currently, Trump has claimed one World Snooker Championship title but will be eyeing up his second in the current competition.

Trump is tied 4-4 with Shaun Murphy and will continue into his second and third rounds against the star today. 

O’Sullivan believed the main rivals to Trump were Neil Robertson and Mark Selby.

He added: “There’s a lot of factors thrown at him that makes him have a good chance to win a few of these World Championships.”

Judd Trump vs Shaun Murphy resumes at 3.30pm and 8pm today. It is available to watch on BBC Two and Eurosport. 

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