Ronnie O’Sullivan has suggested that Shaun Murphy should get another job outside professional snooker after he hit out at the involvement of amateurs at the UK Championship.
Murphy suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Chinese youngster Si Jiahui in the first round of the competition this week.
“I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building,” Murphy said.
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“I don’t know why we as a sport allow amateurs to compete in professional tournaments. This is our livelihood. This is our living. We are self-employed individuals and not contracted sportsmen. We don’t play for a team.
“The other 127 runners and riders in the tournament, it is their livelihood too. It is wrong, in my opinion, to walk into somebody who is not playing with the same pressures and concerns I am.
“He played like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right.
“I am not picking on him as a young man, he deserved his victory. Amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments, the end.”
Other professionals have lent some support to Murphy over the comments, but O’Sullivan – who considers snooker a ‘holiday’ from his other interests – disagreed.
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While the likes of Neil Robertson and Mark Williams have backed Murphy over his complaints, O’Sullivan is less sympathetic.
“I hope it gets worse, honestly. I hope it gets worse for them,” said O’Sullivan. “They better start looking for a job if they don’t like it”
“I drew a line under it a long time ago. I can change what I do, that’s what I’m saying to Murphy, go and get a job, do something else, play snooker for fun because you’re going to have loads more of that.
“Get your head around it, you’ve got choices to make. Five or six years ago I made a real conscious effort to play for fun and just enjoy it. I went and got a job and played this for a hobby.
It’s alright playing it as a hobby, if I had to play it as me living, I’d be like Shaun Murphy. In bits.
“You’ll never hear me talk like that because it’s a hobby, but when it means something to you then it can hurt.
“I don’t care. I’ll play amateurs, women, referees, anyone, I don’t care,” he continued. “I feel like the amateur playing now, you have to get in that mindset because it’s better that way.
“I remember being an amateur playing a pro, Willie Thorne playing a 14-year-old me, it was embarrassing for him to lose to me, so I know what it feels like to be a favourite and to lose but that’s just how it is.
“Just got to get on with it, enjoy it, keep smiling, it’s all good”
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Source: Euro Sports