• UK Championship

O'Sullivan forced to get changed in toilets

ESPN staff
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Ronnie O'Sullivan comfortably reached the second round © PA Photos
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Ronnie O'Sullivan may have crushed his opponent in the opening round of the UK Championship, but the reigning world champion struggled before his match after revealing he had to get changed in the toilets.

O'Sullivan whitewashed teenager Rhys Clark 6-0 on Saturday, but things were far from straightforward for 'The Rocket' before he took to the Barbican Centre in York.

"Me, [Stephen] Hendry, [Mark] Williams and [John] Higgins reminisce about the old days. With the tobacco sponsors there was great hospitality, courtesy cars, everything," O'Sullivan said.

"These days I couldn't even get a hotel room in York - I got changed in the toilets of the Novotel over the road. I am about an hour's drive out of the city because of the traffic."

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has faced criticism from players over the new format introduced to tournaments this season, with all 128 players taking part in the UK Championship, meaning the elite 16 have to play in the early rounds.

The likes of Judd Trump and Ali Carter have blasted the new format, but Hearn has hit back.

"People are forgetting that snooker was dead in the UK. Players and purists have this attitude that I'm messing with a great event. That is rubbish. We are keeping it alive. I am fed up with listening to whingers who were themselves culpable of helping destroy this game," he said.

"My advice is put your heads down, play snooker, earn your money, and leave it to the experts. But some players have been so pampered and so spoilt they don't understand you have to put up with the odd thing going wrong."

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