Ronnie O'Sullivan should withdraw over Crucible crowd concerns, says Judd Trump
Judd Trump on Ronnie O'Sullivan: "I have been around the game long enough to know that if there is a World Championship coming up [O'Sullivan] is going to try and get the headlines"
Last Updated: 30/07/20 10:33pm
Defending champion Judd Trump has told title rival Ronnie O'Sullivan he should join qualifier Anthony Hamilton in withdrawing from this year's World Snooker Championship if he harbours genuine coronavirus concerns.
Hamilton, a chronic asthmatic, pulled out on Thursday citing health fears, following O'Sullivan's claim that the sport's top stars are being treated like "lab rats" over the decision to allow a limited of number of spectators into the tournament.
Trump, who will begin his quest to become the first first-time winner to retain the title against Tom Ford on Friday morning, branded the dissenting duo "selfish" for not pulling out earlier and giving other players a chance to share in the game's biggest payday.
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Just pull out and let someone else have a go
Judd Trump on Ronnie O'Sullivan
Trump said: "I have been around the game long enough to know that if there is a World Championship coming up [O'Sullivan] is going to try and get the headlines.
"Of all people, Ronnie is probably the only one who doesn't need the money, so I find it quite hard that he can enter it and have a go at what is going on. Just pull out and let someone else have a go."
O'Sullivan had expressed sympathy for Hamilton, who said he had grave reservations about competing at the Crucible despite battling through the final qualifying round on Monday night.
Trump, who credited World Snooker Tour officials with doing an "amazing" job to put on the tournament, will attempt to break a 43-year-old Crucible curse as he attempts to keep hold of his crown. No first-time champion has kept hold of his crown since the tournament moved to its current location in 1977.
After belatedly making his world-title breakthrough in thrilling fashion last year, he has his eyes on the prize this year.
"I think it's different this year because we didn't think the event was going to be on, so it's a double bonus really," said Trump.
"There's no pressure any more. I always wanted to win the worlds and I finally did it. To win it for a second time would be amazing, but I won't be bothered if I don't. I've won enough tournaments to be satisfied with my season."
Former champion Stuart Bingham also starts his campaign on Friday morning against qualifier Ashley Carty, while Ding Junhui and Mark King will now have the arena to themselves in the Friday afternoon session.
Trump and Ford, the world No 26, return to conclude their first-round match on Friday evening, when veterans Mark Williams and Alan McManus will also begin their best-of-19 encounter.
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