When I was walking through there yesterday (former world champion) Peter Ebdon was walking through and one old boy shouted ‘Can you stop walking while I’m trying to play bowls’
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 16/10/18 3:38pm
Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has defended his criticism of the English Open venue, insisting he does not want to be “traipsing through kids with snorkels” on his way to a match.
O’Sullivan, in comments on Monday, described the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley as a “hellhole” and claimed he could smell urine in the player interview area.
Rather than row back on those remarks, the Englishman expanded on his criticism when asked whether he had thought about it overnight.
You don’t want to be traipsing through families going swimming with kids with snorkels and flip-flops on and you’re about to play a match or to do a press conference.
“I don’t think it is harsh at all, the facts are the facts. I don’t know what else I can add to that,” he told Eurosport.
“I think the venue is OK, what they should do is hire the whole back of the venue rather than have the snooker part here and then you have to walk through the bowling green to the press conference.
“When I was walking through there yesterday (former world champion) Peter Ebdon was walking through and one old boy shouted ‘Can you stop walking while I’m trying to play bowls’.
“Peter looked around because he thought he was joking but he was really serious and he went ‘I’m going to start walking through when you are playing snooker’.
“I just thought a top player should not be subjected to one old guy who’s really, really angry.
“You have to go through the main foyer to where the fans and all the members of the leisure centre are, you don’t want to be traipsing through families going swimming with kids with snorkels and flip-flops on and you’re about to play a match or to do a press conference.”
On his claims about the urine smell O’Sullivan added: “They put me by some toilet and I had to stand there for four or five minutes and all I could smell was urine.
“It was really quite off-putting, no one wants to be subject to smelling urine.
“You don’t mind 30 seconds while you are in the toilet because that’s what the toilet is for but four or five minutes trying to pose for photographs it kind of gets into your system a little bit.”
O’Sullivan claimed on Monday World Snooker had cut corners because they did not have the budget for the event.
However, he suggested players would settle for less prize money if it meant providing a better environment.
“As a player you don’t mind where it is – it helps if it is in Cardiff or a nice city – but actually you spend most of your time at the venue so you just want the facilities at the venue to be right,” he added.
“Maybe take some of the prize money out and invest it to make the venue much more suitable for the players.
“Money comes secondary to most of the players when they are playing in a tournament; they want nice facilities, a nice venue, so when you come to the venue you can put your cue down, relax and feel like you can focus on what you got to do.
“Maybe put a bit more money into hiring a whole section of the venue and section it off so it is separate to the locals who come in for their swimming, martial arts, ju-jitsu, athletics and whatever they do here.
“The whole venue is completely spread out so you are asked to go through the foyer of the leisure centre when there are 150 kids running around.
“You just want to be in your bubble.”
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