Ronnie O'Sullivan causes controversy as the English Open begins

The Rocket has threatened to pull out of the tournament over a footwear row.

Ronnie O'Sullivan causes controversy as the English Open begins
O'Sullivan wore trainers rather than shoes in the opening round (photo: Getty Images/VCG)

Ronnie O'Sullivan's appearances on the snooker circuit have been few and far between this season. However, he has already created a stir at the English Open, despite playing some exhilarating snooker to defeat Zhang Anda in the opening round.

'Looks like I will have to pull out'

The Rocket wore trainers in that victory and has since been warned about his footwear for Wednesday evening's second round match against Mark Davis. O'Sullivan stated on social media, 'being told by World Snooker that if I don't wear a black training shoe on Wednesday, I can't play.'

The multi-World champion then added, 'looks like I will have to pull out of the English Open because someone's not happy I am wearing a trainer due to a sprained ankle.'

However, there was no confirmation of a final decision hours before the expected start time of 8pm, with O'Sullivan merely stating that he had his 'foot in ice' over lunchtime.

O'Sullivan, well known for his controversial demeanour, also appeared to belittle the competition. He claimed, 'I am just treating it like a holiday. I wandered up to Sheffield, filled my fridge up with lots of food and will be cooking on my boat tomorrow [Wednesday]. I pitch up, hit a few balls and see how it goes. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.'

 

O'Sullivan could be a title contender

The tournament itself has seen very little in the way of surprise results during the opening stages. Joe Perry and Marco Fu both lost to Chinese outsiders, whilst Stephen Maguire was defeated by Robert Milkins.

However, many of the expected contenders cleared the first hurdle, although Mark Selby and Judd Trump both required final frame deciders. O'Sullivan himself formulated some excellent snooker, whilst Stuart Bingham continued his good form with three maximum break attempts and two centuries against Lee Walker.

The second round has thrown up two shock outcomes though. Mark Allen was defeated by Stuart Carrington and Barry Hawkins lost to Chen Zifan, despite holding an 88-place superior ranking.

Kyren Wilson and Judd Trump comfortably progressed to the third round and defending champion, Liang Wenbo, has also joined them after making a maximum 147 break in frame six. However, with the second half of matches being played during Wednesday afternoon and evening, all eyes will again be focussed on Ronnie O'Sullivan.