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Allen: Snooker missing Hendry and O'Sullivan

ESPN staff
November 30, 2012 « Watch the FA Cup 3rd Round Draw live from 2.40pm | Chartbeat test »
Mark Allen says Ronnie O'Sullivan is a big draw for the crowds © PA Photos
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Mark Allen admits snooker is suffering following the retirement of Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan's decision to take a break from the sport.

However, Allen, who faces Marco Fu in the first round of the UK Snooker Championship in York, is hoping his rivalry with new world No. 1 Judd Trump can reinvigorate interest in snooker.

Hendry retired following the World Snooker Championship earlier this year, while O'Sullivan will miss the whole season for personal reasons.

Allen, who finished runner-up to Trump at the Barbican last year, believes the absence of seven-time world champion Hendry and the popular O'Sullivan is a blow to the sport.

"The crowds haven't been the same and there hasn't really been that same buzz around the tournaments," Allen admitted.

"I think Stephen's a bigger miss to the game than Ronnie, but from the financial side Ronnie is the big draw and I think the tournaments have suffered because of that. Not a lot of people have talked about him (Hendry) not being at the events. I think Ronnie has helped in that.

"Stephen has got off lightly because he's a big, big miss to the game, and one that I personally miss a lot. He probably doesn't see me as a friend but I see him as a friend. He's given me a lot of good advice over the years and - he won't like me saying this - as a father figure. He's the person I've always looked up to in the game."

Allen believes he and Trump play an entertaining brand of snooker, but admits it will take time for them to replace big names like Hendry or O'Sullivan.

"I think it's down to everyone. It's hard to single out myself or Judd," he said. "We just play. I don't think Judd goes out there to do anything different to what he would do in practice and it's the same for me.

"The crowds seem to enjoy watching me play. Snooker's in good hands but it's still going to take time for it to recover from there being no Ronnie or Hendry factor."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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