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'He ruptured my nostril' – Ronnie O'Sullivan claims Covid-19 test damaged his nose

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Ronnie O'Sullivan | Snooker | ESP Player Feature

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ByEurosport
22/06/2020 at 08:05 | Updated 22/06/2020 at 17:50

Ronnie O'Sullivan is convinced the Covid-19 test he underwent in Milton Keynes left him with a ruptured nostril for days afterwards as snooker returned without any fans.

The five-times world champion was heard sniffing during frames at the Championship League event last week, behaviour that attracted the derision of fellow professional Sam Craigie, who said O'Sullivan was "daft" and "embarrassing" after their last-16 group match.

O'Sullivan admits he is not keen on the test all players and event staff must undergo to comply with strict health guidelines before playing tournaments behind closed doors.

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“He must have shoved it up my nose so hard and so high, he ruptured my nostril," said O'Sullivan during an Instagram chat with seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry.

I had a running nose for two days. When I was playing I was constantly dribbling. I’m not going to put myself through that three times a week.

He continued: “If it’s OK, you can put up with whatever it is. But I felt like I was cracking up in Milton Keynes.

“Stuck in the room for 24 hours with no window, eating the aeroplane food they gave you."

O'Sullivan won five out of six matches at the Championship League, but a 3-0 defeat to 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham ended his campaign before the final group.

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The Essex cueman – who failed to qualify for his defence of the Tour Championship this week – did not revel in being confined to a hotel room at the Marshall Arena for hours after undergoing his coronavirus test.

“I enjoyed the playing side of it. It was like a practice session," said O'Sullivan. "I didn’t enjoy the protocol of being confined to a room. For me, is that sustainable?

If every tournament is like that I would probably only play three or four events a year.

“I don’t want to spend my time like that. I know some of the players and their feedback is they really liked it.

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“But the reason a lot of them loved it was obviously the free hotel, free food and snooker.

“Most of the snooker players, I am not sure they are into their fitness. For me, I like to do my running, stay in a nice hotel, have nice surroundings.

“But there was none of that there. I struggled with it, to be honest.”

O'Sullivan admits he will struggle to cope with competing at the delayed World Championship in Sheffield next month if the same rules apply.

The sport's biggest event is due to be staged between Friday 31 July and Sunday 16 August with O'Sullivan among the favourites for the £500,000 top prize.

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“I think the worlds in Sheffield will definitely go ahead – I’m just waiting to see what the protocol is," he said.

If I crack up, because of what the lockdown has put you under, then you’ve got to put your happiness or sanity before snooker. But I’ll go there and try.

“For me, every now and again it’s fine. Doing that for 17 days, it’s not sustainable. I’d rather not live.”

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