|Lieu: Crucible Theater, Sheffield Appointment: July 31-August 16|
|Blanket: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and Red Button, with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app. Full details and schedules.|
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s comments about the standard of snooker are “derogatory” to the game’s young players, said former world champion Ken Doherty.
Doherty said: “Name another sportsman who would get rid of the rest of the tour saying they’re not that good.
“The standard is higher than ever. It might be a little ironic, but it’s not nice. I think it’s derogatory. ”
Speaking on BBC Two, Doherty pointed out that O’Sullivan had suffered a defeat in the first round by amateur James Cahill in 2019.
And the 1997 Crucible winner also said that O’Sullivan’s remarks could hurt his relationship with other players.
“All of these players admire Ronnie and he has a duty to them as an ambassador for the game,” he said.
“He’s a hero to all of these players on the tour. I don’t know if they’ll still think he’s a character or worship him. ”
O’Sullivan, 44, faces Mark Williams, 45, in the quarter-finals, with both players turning pro in 1992.
Sixth world champion Steve Davis has suggested that maybe O’Sullivan’s extraordinary interview was the result of not realizing how good he is now.
“The Rocket” beat Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in a record 108 minutes in the first round before beating Ding Junhui 13-10 in the last 16.
“Maybe he’s improved – and he’s better than he’s ever been,” Davis said.
“At the turn of the century, Ronnie O’Sullivan was much easier to beat. I beat him at the 1997 Masters 8-4 behind.
“He was far from being the player he is now. Maybe the same goes for Mark Williams and John Higgins.
“Wait until these young players are in their thirties before passing judgment on them. The likes of Jack Lisowski and Zhao Xintong are talented but actually raw compared to John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan. “