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World Snooker Championship 2017: Why Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy HATE each other | Other | Sport

Matches involving are rarely dull and after just one round of the World Snooker Championship the talented Englishman was making headlines with accusations of bullying levelled against World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn.

His comments split the players with some claiming he should grow up and shut up while others recognised his importance to the game as a whole.

One man who was not interested in Ronnie’s complaints was Murphy, busy preparing for their second-round clash after dispatching Yan Bingtao 10-8 in his opener.

Murphy made three centuries along the way and after his 4-1 was cut to just a frame, he stretched out again and never let his Chinese opponent get that close again.

It meant he arrived at the O’Sullivan match full of confidence and desperately keen to avoid the drubbing he received at the Crucible back in 2014.

And the Essex-born 34-year-old wasn’t interested in hiding his displeasure at getting caught up in the peaks and troughs of O’Sullivan’s fiery character during that match.

“When he beat me 13-3, the scoreline didn’t reflect the match but during the game I just got too involved in some of the stuff that goes on when you play Ronnie O’Sullivan,” Murphy said ahead of their clash at the Worlds.

“Of course there is always a big build-up. It is a bit of a circus.

“But you have got to go through that rubbish when you play our snooker celebrity.”

Murphy also admitted in the same interview that O’Sullivan is the most intimidating player on tour to play – even more so than Neil Robertson or Mark Selby.

But his frustration at O’Sullivan is clear. While no-one can deny Ronnie’s importance in snooker, the world No 5 and 2005 world champion has plenty of weight behind his own cue.

It does not seem like bitterness but exasperation that the sport’s leading figure insists on dragging it through the mud time and again.

O’Sullivan selectively plays tournaments, complaining that the schedule is too much to handle and that the massive fields make some early rounds against near-amateurs completely pointless.

He is fortunate to have enough money and talent that his living is still feasible even if he only plays the very biggest tournaments.

But for players like Murphy, who spends 11 months a year slaving away all over the world to make a living and make snooker viable as an international entertainment sport, it must rankle when O’Sullivan then complains about the way he is treated.

“It is not about ­favourites, or where you are ranked, but airing your dirty linen in public isn’t good for anyone,” Murphy said.

“We are all trying to promote the game and, the last thing we want, is a ­public slanging match ­between Ronnie and the chairman of World Snooker.”

The feeling is clearly mutual too.

Last year, O’Sullivan flatly named Murphy as a player he did not like at a literary event.

“We don’t relate,” O’Sullivan said in typically enigmatic fashion.

He will be delighted then to approach the second session of the match leading…

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