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Snooker greats differ on O'Sullivan's future

Updated: 2013-02-25 16:55
By Guan Xiaomeng ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Snooker greats differ on O'Sullivan's future

England's Ronnie O'Sullivan plays a shot against China's Ding Junhui during the first round match in the BGC Masters Snooker tournament at Alexandra Palace in north London on January 15, 2012.  [Photo/Agencies]

Ding Junhui hoped Ronnie O'Sullivan would leave the sport as the reigning world champion and give the Chinese snooker prodigy a chance at the title, but a major announcement due in London on Tuesday could change all that.

Tuesday marks the second to last day for O'Sullivan to sign up for this year's world championships with rumors swirling the 37-year-old four-time world champion would probably decide to call it a day after skipping all the major events in the new season.

The former world number one, now ranked 24th, is expected to reveal at the news conference if he will return or not, according to his team.

Retirement speculation began when O'Sullivan wrote to World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn in November to say he would be skipping the remainder of the season.

Ding, then a 20-year-old newcomer, lost to his all-time icon O'Sullivan 2-10 in the first round of the 2007 world championships.

But a year later, O'Sullivan became embroiled in a scandal due of obscene gestures and remarks at a post-match conference during the 2008 China Open tournament.

Reacting to initial news of the news conference, Ken Doherty, the 1997 world champion, wrote on Twitter: "Looks like he's coming back? He must miss it, the buzz, the atmosphere, excitement?"

Sharing Doherty's view is retired former world No.1 Stephen Hendry. "I think it will be like that. It's important to other players. It won't mean anything to win without playing against players like Ronnie…"

However, another snooker great Jimmy White did not think so.

"Last time I spoke to Ronnie he wasn't going to play. I'd love him too but he has big plans away from snooker," White tweeted.

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