Ronnie O’Sullivan brands Crawley venue a ‘hellhole’
‘I don’t know what this gaff is, but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine’
Ronnie O’Sullivan: “It’s such a bad venue, it demotivates you to want to play. This is about as bad as I’ve ever seen. It’s a bit of a hellhole.” Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Ronnie O’Sullivan has branded the venue for the English Open a “hellhole” and claimed he could smell urine in the player interview area.
The five-time world champion says event organiser World Snooker is “cutting corners” because he feels the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley is not of a good enough standard for this week’s tournament.
O’Sullivan was speaking after winning his opening match against Kurt Maflin 4-1 on Monday.
The 42-year-old said on the BBC: “It’s such a bad venue, it demotivates you to want to play.
“This is about as bad as I’ve ever seen. It’s a bit of a hellhole.”
He added: “I don’t know what this gaff is, but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.
“It’s just got no atmosphere in there. I’m practising and I’ve got wires all around the table. There’s no security, you’ve got people running at you left, right and centre.
“It’s not the fans’ fault. They (World Snooker) obviously haven’t got the budget to run it properly.
“I don’t know where their budget is but they’re cutting corners. I think they should invest in good venues. Players deserve better.”
World Snooker claimed O’Sullivan’s comments bore no resemblance to feedback from other players about the venue.
A statement read: “We are surprised to hear these comments from Ronnie given that he has made no formal complaint and the feedback from the other players has been overwhelmingly positive. And the partners we are working with on the event agree with our view that K2 Crawley is an excellent venue with very good facilities.”
A statement from K2 Crawley added: “We are sorry and disappointed to hear that Ronnie has voiced some concerns over the venue, especially after feedback from everybody else has been so positive.
“We have been working closely with World Snooker to make this competition the best it can be and they are extremely happy with how the first day has gone. To be involved with this event is a privilege and we are pleased that K2 Crawley’s great accessibility and facilities will mean that more snooker fans than ever before can enjoy the tournament.”
O’Sullivan, the world number three, won the English Open when it was held in Barnsley last year.
He began his title defence in convincing fashion, needing just over an hour to see off Maflin.
His victory included a break of 104 in the second frame, moving him a step close to becoming the first player to record 1,000 tons.
Prior to the match, O’Sullivan said he would tease people by controlling when he reached the landmark.
“I’m going to get to 999 and keep you all waiting,” he told Eurosport. “I will get a right kick out of that and enjoy that.”