Ronnie O'Sullivan has announced his decision to withdraw from the German Masters; in a statement posted on X, the seven-time world champion spoke of his need to prioritise his health and wellbeing; O'Sullivan has already won the UK Championship, Masters, and World Grand Prix this year
Sunday 28 January 2024 19:09, UK
Snooker's world No 1 Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from next week's German Masters.
The 48-year-old, who has already won the Masters, UK Championship and World Grand Prix this season, will not contest the event in Berlin in order to prioritise his "health and wellbeing".
Earlier this week, O'Sullivan limped through his World Open qualifier against Alfie Burden in Barnsley to book his place in the final stages of the tournament and has decided now is the time to take a break.
"I just want to let my fans in Germany know that sadly I've decided to withdraw from the German Masters next week," O'Sullivan wrote in a statement on X.
"I love the event and fans in Germany, but I have to make my health and wellbeing the priority.
"It's been a tiring and challenging season for me so far, despite how it may seem with the tournament wins so hope you understand. I'm sorry I won't be there, and I hope to see you all soon."
During the China Open qualifiers, O'Sullivan, who has been given special permission by World Snooker to wear trainers due to a foot injury, kicked them off midway through the fourth frame while Burden was on a break of 61.
The seven-time world champion then slightly delayed the start of the fifth frame while he restored his footwear, and breaks of 83 and 58 eventually secured a 5-3 win after Burden had levelled at 3-3.
O'Sullivan's decision to withdraw from the German Masters comes after he had spoken of his need for a break from snooker following his second-round win over Zhou Yuelong at the Grand Prix in Leicester.
"I've got to consider whether I can carry on, feeling how I'm feeling," O'Sullivan told tournament broadcaster ITV4.
"It's a struggle, to be honest, and the worst thing is you're winning tournaments. If I was getting pumped first round every match playing like that it would be an easy decision to make, but I'm not getting any enjoyment out of it, to be honest with you.
"I definitely need a break, at least, but it's been like this for 25 or 30 years so it's nothing different. It's just it's the only thing I've known and it's hard to not do this years ago because it's my job."