Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from next week's Welsh Open citing stage fright, brought on by anxiety; "It's not something I can predict or control, but I try to manage it as best as I can"
Saturday 10 February 2024 12:24, UK
Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from next week's Welsh Open citing stage fright, brought on by anxiety.
O'Sullivan has been in stunning form in 2024 so far, winning the Masters and World Grand Prix and is on course to complete snooker's 'Triple Crown' when the World Championship gets under way on April 20.
The 48-year-old world No 1 was scheduled to face Liam Graham on Monday, but he has claimed he will be sticking to punditry work in Llandudno.
O'Sullivan has spoken regularly about being burned out due to the hectic snooker schedule and he has confirmed he will not be playing in Wales next week.
"Morning, guys. I wanted to let you know that I've decided I'm not able to play in Llandudno next week," O'Sullivan revealed on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday morning.
"It's hard to explain, but for years, I've suffered from stage fright at times, brought on by anxiety. It's not something I can predict or control, but I try to manage it as best as I can.
"I'm sorry to everyone who's bought tickets, but I just can't get my cue out when I feel like this, and I think this is what's best for me right now.
"I still want to be around the tournament, so I'll be doing some work with Eurosport, and I hope to see you all there."
The Welsh Open is the seventh ranking tournament in which O'Sullivan has elected not to play this season, along with the Champion of Champions event in Bolton in November.
After withdrawing from the German Masters in January, O'Sullivan stressed the need to focus on his "health and wellbeing" despite his continued success on the table.
He has been investigated by his sport's governing body over comments he made about unsanctioned exhibition matches, and also over an expletive-laden rant at rival Ali Carter following his Masters final win in January.