Snooker star not interested in Ronnie O’Sullivan words ahead of Masters

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Kyren Wilson will take his place at the Masters (Image: George Wood/Getty Images)
Kyren Wilson will take his place at the Masters (Image: George Wood/Getty Images)

Former finalist Kyren Wilson will take his place in the 2023 Masters firmly focussed on his snooker, and not the controversial words of Ronnie O'Sullivan.

The game's biggest star has divided opinion of late, insisting snooker "isn't worth a stress" and claiming he no longer cares if he wins or loses. His words upset some stars a nd prompted a verbal feud with Shaun Murphy, but Wilson hasn't engaged with the fallout.

“I don’t pay any interest in any of it to be honest," he told Mirror Sport. "If that’s his attitude then it’s obviously not done him too bad of late has it? He’s still playing very, very good snooker. You don’t become a world champion again by not playing very well. So he’s obviously still at the top of the tree in our sport and is still the man to beat.”

The 31-year-old is at the opposite side of the draw at 'The Rocket' in the Masters, a tournament where he was beaten in the final in 2018 by Mark Allen. For the last three years, he's been knocked out in the last eight, but that hasn't affected his appetite for one of the sport's three Triple Crown events.

“It’s obviously one of our biggest events isn’t it, playing at Alexandra Palace, it’s a special tournament to be involved in," he enthused. "I’ve obviously had some good memories and some bad memories there, and just looking forward to getting started and enjoying the experience.”

O'Sullivan teases fellow pro Dale over his hair in awkward post-match interview rriqudirriezinvO'Sullivan teases fellow pro Dale over his hair in awkward post-match interview

Getting started will mean a third straight meeting at the Ally Pally with Stuart Bingham, an opponent he's now faced 18 times in his pro career: “It’s strange because it’s actually the third year in a row that we’ll be playing at the Masters. I’ve already told world snooker not to bother drawing it for next year because I know I’ll have Stuart Bingham again," he joked. “They are always good games and ones that I enjoy. He’s a great player and I know I’ll have to play well to beat him."

Snooker star not interested in Ronnie O’Sullivan words ahead of MastersO'Sullivan's controversial comments haven't bothered Wilson (VCG via Getty Images)

Should Wilson prevail, then a possible meeting with top seed Neil Robertson awaits. But it's not a prospect he even wants to consider until his clash with Bingham is done and dusted.

“I’m just one game at a time," he said. "I never look past the first round. We know the Masters is different because it’s seeded so you are kind of aware of who is where, but I never really pay too much attention to that.

"If you’re going to win a tournament the calibre of the Masters you have to beat the best in the world. So you are not going to have an easy route no matter who you come up against.”

Wilson reached the World Championship final in 2020, where he was well beaten by O'Sullivan. A final four appearance the year after followed before a second round exit in 2022, and he admitted that he is already building towards the Crucible in April.

“You always have it in the back of your mind when you approach the New Year, that the Crucible isn’t too far away," he admitted. "And obviously that’s the one that everybody is really targeting.

“Everything does come after the World Championships but these events are quality. Especially a Triple Crown event and especially the Masters. So you can’t look too far past these ones.”

Fraser Watson

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation