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December 1, 2020

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Ronnie O’Sullivan denies apologising to Ali Carter or Mark Allen after heated spats

4 min read

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter are not the best of pals (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan denies ever apologising to Ali Carter after their infamous clash at the 2018 World Snooker Championship, despite the Captain claiming otherwise.

The pair met in the second round at the Crucible and with the score 10-8 in Carter’s favour there was a clash of shoulders as O’Sullivan returned to his chair.

There were then words exchanged as the referee tried to calm things down, but it all left a very tense atmosphere in the theatre, one which clearly suited Carter as he went on to win 13-9.

Asked about their relationship last year, Carter said the incident was all in the past thanks to an apology from the Rocket.

‘Yeah I spoke to him plenty about it, actually, there’s no hard feelings, it was heat of the moment stuff,’ Carter said after qualifying for the 2019 World Championship.

‘I haven’t been the fondest of Ronnie over the years, but I’ve got the ultimate respect for him as a player and what did give me ultimate respect for him was at the UK Championship, at the hotel when I was having breakfast.

‘This was some months later and he came over to me, he doesn’t need to speak to me, and he came over and said, “Ali, I’d just like to apologise and there’s no hard feelings” and he shook my hand.

‘So I thought to myself “hats off to the man,” and he looked me straight in the eye when he said it and he meant it. It’s all water under the bridge and he’s a good guy.’

O’Sullivan has now disputed that suggestion, though, and also a similar comment from Mark Allen after their recent spat at the Champion of Champions.

The world champion had accused the Pistol of moving in his eyeline and a heated exchange ensued. Allen won the match and later in the tournament said that O’Sullivan had texted him to apologise for the incident.

‘Ronnie actually text me last night just to apologise, “let’s move on” type thing. Hopefully we can all do that now,’ said the Northern Irishman.

However, the Rocket has his own explanation as he prepares to face Carter in the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open on Saturday, his first match against him since the Crucible in 2018.

‘I didn’t apologise to Ali and I didn’t apologise to Mark Allen either,’ Ronnie told WST. ‘I just said, “look, let’s move on, let’s not hold any grudges over it.”

‘I still feel that I was in the right on both occasions, so that apology that they say that I said was definitely not an apology.

‘More like, “let’s just move on, it was what it was and it doesn’t really matter. I’ve got to see you around tournaments, you’ve got to see me, we might as well say hello to each other so let’s just break the ice.”

‘We’re not boxers, we’re not enemies, it’s just a game of sticks and balls. I’m happy with my life, you’re happy with your life, let’s just be friends.’

Carter and O’Sullivan meet for a place in the final of the Northern Ireland Open on Saturday after knowing each other for the best part of 30 years.

The two men came through the junior ranks together in Essex and have a long history together, one which took an unexpected turn at the start of the year.

O’Sullivan chose not to play in the Masters back in January, allowing Carter to take his spot as the highest-ranked player not to qualify. The Captain snapped up the opportunity, reaching the final and pocketing £100,000 for his efforts.

‘He’s always been on my Christmas card list, I’m not sure I’m on his though,’ Carter said after losing the final to Stuart Bingham.

‘I’ve done a couple of interviews in the studio, he seems very pleased for me. I said “thanks Ron.”‘


MORE : Ronnie O’Sullivan owns up to ‘dropping his guts’ during Northern Ireland Open match


MORE : Ronnie O’Sullivan questions Lewis Hamilton’s position among Britain’s greatest sports stars

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