In Brief

Snooker shake-up: Ronnie O’Sullivan eyes breakaway tour

The Rocket wants to form a Champions League-style tournament

Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan wants to create a new snooker tour and would be “gone tomorrow” from the current one if he had the chance.

The 43-year-old is unhappy with the current tour’s number of events and amount of travelling, the BBC reports. He is keen to set up a new “Champions League-style” tour featuring a number of top players.

Speaking at the UK Championship yesterday, “The Rocket” O’Sullivan told the BBC: “I am looking for seven or eight real top-quality players. I am just waiting for four or five unhappy players. I am ready to go and if someone offered me the opportunity to play on another platform, I would be gone tomorrow.

“I want to play in quality events, good venues against great players and that is what inspires me. The tour is fantastic for a lot of people but it is not for everybody.

“I am being patient because I still have 15 years left in this game and I feel I can play into my mid-50s easily. There is no rush.”

O’Sullivan, who has been at loggerheads with the sport’s governing body World Snooker, says that legend Stephen Hendry is ready to come out of retirement to play in the new tour.

Speaking about the plans for a best-versus-the-best format, O’Sullivan added: “I am ready but I cannot do it on my own. The whole idea is to play against quality players day in day out.

“The public will have the choice of the best playing each other every week. You don’t see Leyton Orient turning up to play Lionel Messi at Barcelona. It does not happen. It is demotivating.

“Messi would get fed up having to playing Huddersfield Town and Orient. He wants to play against Cristiano Ronaldo and wants to hear the Champions League music. It gets you excited. There is space for two tours. Everyone loves choice.

“As a sportsman, I like to see the green jacket in golf, I like to see Roger Federer in tennis coming out looking slick at Wimbledon. I don’t want to see Federer at Richmond Park having to qualify for Wimbledon.”

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