Ronnie O’Sullivan has announced his withdrawal from next week’s Welsh Open in Llandudno due to anxiety.
The world No 1 has had a successful season so far with victories at the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Grand Prix. But his success has been increasingly underpinned by health concerns that have seen him withdraw from a series of lesser ranking events.
O’Sullivan wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Morning guys, I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided I’m not able to play in Llandudno next week. 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 after his Masters final win in January, in which he described Carter as “a fucking nightmare”.