Ronnie O’Sullivan threatened to walk out of the European Masters final unless a photographer was ejected in an unusual incident.
The six-time world champion was flustered after slipping 5-4 behind to 750-1 tournament underdog Fan Zhengyi in the evening session, calling over the referee to discuss a disturbance behind the scenes.
O’Sullivan’s grievance focused on a roving photographer, who he demanded use a tripod and stop moving around during play.
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“He’s got to have a tripod. I’m not having it. Either I go or he goes,” O’Sullivan told the referee in a hushed exchange.
On the referee’s request, O’Sullivan wandered over to speak to the photographer and WST head of media Ivan Hirschowitz.
“Until he gets a tripod, I’m not playing,” continued O’Sullivan. “I’ve told you Ivan many times before, get a tripod.”
O’Sullivan’s wish was eventually granted as the photographer left the arena.
The incident came just hours after O’Sullivan comically turned on the crowd and urged them to stay still when he was lining up a shot.
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“I think it’s a bad sign that he’s getting involved in all this,” said David Hendon on Eurosport commentary.
“He hasn’t noticed anything all week until this afternoon and he handled that in quite a comical way. But he seems a little fractious at the start of this session.
“His concern is that they’ll start moving round. If they’ve got a tripod it’s obviously fixed and they’re not moving, he’s worried they might put him off.
“But the photographer he was talking to, he does a lot of snooker and he knows how to behave.”
O’Sullivan was bidding for his second ranking title of the season, having won the World Grand Prix in December.
“In Ronnie’s defence I totally get it,” added Alan McManus.
“Against a black background if there’s one guy, when you go down on a shot and he decides to take his position to take a snap shot, it can be irritating.”
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